Many are quick to call Valentine’s Day a day of commercialism, and if it is, well it’s working! Valentine’s Day does have its own roots of origin other than just selling cards, flowers, and chocolates! While we can’t be sure, some people think the day was named after a priest who would sign his letters, “from your Valentine.” Some think it may have been from another St. Valentine who would secretly marry couples to be spared from going to war. On top of that, some even think that it was the same person who did both!  Over time this came to be a feast day, celebrated in association with love. Today it’s known as a huge money maker, yes, but it must be supported if it’s making that much money, right? I dare say Valentine reveals that we do indeed love to love and be loved!

It’s true! According to the National Retail Foundation (NRF) Americans spent over $20 BILLION on Valentine’s day gifts in 2019 and they estimated that in 2020 we would spend $27 Billion! One can only imagine what might be spent in 2021 as online shopping is at an all-time high due to well, you know, the global pandemic we are living in. When the NRF broke down these figures they found that over $2.4 billion of those dollars were spent on candy alone! Proving we not only love love, but we love heart-shaped candies too! That means Americans spend about $200 each on a day that centers around love! But why?

Well, when it comes down to it, humans have certain “needs” that we all share. We “need” to be loved and to give love in return, also known as “human givens.” The Human Givens Institute, (HGI), has devoted its energy to researching what it is we as humans “need” and love and loving others makes the list! In fact, it’s even broken down into given “physical” and “emotional” needs.

While we have physical needs such as eating, breathing, sleeping, and moving, these physical needs are closely bound to our emotional needs! Emotional needs are the desires to connect and survive in the world. And when we can’t meet these human given needs, we fall short and often must deal with the repercussions in most other areas of our lives. That might mean we struggle without physical and emotional health; it might be we struggle with unhealthy relationships and even the ability to find fulfillment in pastimes and pleasures. Long story short, when we don’t get what we need, we can find ourselves depressed, stressed and a mess!

Bring in a day that centers around LOVE, and well, we get the chance to not only meet other people’s human givens, but we want ours met too. Hollywood knows this, retailers know this and well, admit it or not, our wallets are proving even we knows this! We love to receive gifts, candy, flowers and cards. We love to hear words that make us feel worthwhile and valuable and we feel even more fulfilled when we can share those with others in return. This whole “happy-hearts” day is starting to make more sense isn’t it? We love love!

But what do you do if there isn’t someone else to meet your needs? You fill in where you need to. Yes, you sometimes must be your own Valentine, best friend, and partner. If you can’t find your own happiness, contentment and confidence within you, you will also struggle to find that from other people as well. While “being your own Valentine” may sound a bit cliché or sad, it’s just a human given. Single or taken, you must love you first, it’s proven! It’s a human given!

We need to feel loved, safe, connected, important, heard, valued and cared for. All the heart-shaped candies and flowers in the world won’t make up for a sense of feeling disconnected or insecure. Get to know where you feel the most protected, heard, worthy and empowered. Embrace that whether you have a love interest or not and there are so many ways you can meet your human givens as an individual. But first, you must know yourself. Right now, many of us are spending more time alone, in our thoughts and with extra time to really get to know who we are. Why not get to know more about who you are, what you need, and how to fulfill it with more self-care and self-love?

Self-care and self-love may sound like catchphrases, but they have real value. How you think about yourself, talk about yourself and treat yourself is also an open invitation of how others can treat you as well. Considering the amount of money we spend on just one “love day” it’s fair to assume that most of us want to be treated with care, compassion, love and thoughtfulness. There’s a reason why we love to watch movies where people fall in love, there’s a reason we love to spoil people around us and surprise them with adoration. It makes us feel good! Love is healthy! Loving yourself makes you even healthier. Embrace the love, stay healthy and admit it, we love love!


Mary Hoadley

Director Of The Wellness Center