Prepare yourselves for flowers galore, heart shaped balloons and declarations of love on social media – yep, it’s Valentines Day.

My very first Valentines Day caught me off guard to say the least. Two years ago the former boyfriend decided to surprise me three times throughout the day. With militant planning and exceptional timing, I was speechless and relished the fact that he cared that much to put so much thought into something I had never experienced. Now, I kind of wish he didn’t do that.

While the experience was sweet and memorable, it had essentially made me dependent on a man to make me feel special and euphoric. Even though I was more concerned about spending time with him rather than being lavished with gifts, why couldn’t I just treasure the time we normally spent together? I was capable of this the other 364 days, so why did I need to conform to this fictitious holiday that boils down to damn good marketing?

I understand loving the notion of love, but my problem with Valentines Day is making it seem as though this is the one day where your declaration of love means the most. As far as I’m concerned guys should be appreciated often and girls should be treated like queens always. Shouldn’t we be encouraging this every single day as oppose to once a year?

Rather than receive flowers because “it’s Valentines Day”, wouldn’t you rather share a love that’s full of respect, trust, fun and spontaneity? After learning that I adored sunflowers, I received a bouquet on a random summers day. Why? Because the former bf knew that it was something I loved and appreciated the beauty of.

To this day, I adore those sunflowers more because the reason behind them was more personal to us. It wasn’t because we were conforming to February 14th. (Don’t worry, the adoration firmly stops at the sunflowers.) After being both in and outside of that bubble, it’s so true when people say that you should show your love for each other all year round instead of just one day throughout the entire year.

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This year, I’m redefining what Valentines Day means for myself and spending it the way I want to. Who says you need to buy cards, flowers and chocolates, dined at a restaurant and be told “I love you” a million ways in 24 hours? For girls everywhere, don’t exchange your heart for the superficial things. Give your time and effort to people and to a man who appreciates you everyday.

Today I refuse to be handcuffed physically and mentally to what society dictates, so you won’t be seeing me squeezed in and amongst other couples at a swanky restaurant, carrying roses and dressed in red. That doesn’t mean that I’m not looking forward to the day ahead though. 

Pizza, long talks, plenty of laughs and not one expectation in sight – with my girlfriends of course. If Valentines Day is all about love, then I’ve struck gold this year.

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