With Valentine’s Day around the corner, some of us may be asking some intense questions to ourselves about the love that we may have, or the possibility of finding new love.

Does Valentine’s Day only encompass the love that a romantic relationship displays? Or does it go beyond that, becoming a day where we understand the emotion of love itself? Love is an emotion that signifies a positive regard for an individual or thing. It can take forms that are sensual, childlike, and also caring and motherly.

On Valentine’s Day, we often take the emotion of love to be solely rooted in romance. This may give rise to an insatiable desire for chocolates or gourmet dinners for some people, while others may just want to stay indoors.

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Studies conducted at the University of California, Davis by Masarik concluded that those having deep emotional connections within a family environment were more likely to have satisfying romantic relationships. Love and the familiarity we have with feeling it is thus rooted in one’s household, and eventually leads us to expand our own households. Thus, while ‘societally’, we may be used to hearing people talk of Valentine’s Day in association with romance, it is much more than just that.

The presence of pets in a home is another fascinating aspect to take into consideration when understanding how mutual love for one’s ‘fur-baby’ can really enhance the highs and fix the lows within some relationships. Karen Allen’s study of pet-owning couples showed that those having pets in the household handled stress better within a relationship, and also desired more social contact with other people.

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An important question to ask on Valentine’s Day is ‘what does this day mean to me?’ or rather ‘what does the love itself mean to me?’ When one is single, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to throw a pity party or stay indoors all day. Love and an acceptance of those around you can culminate in a really good party too.

It is important to take the perceptions that we think ‘society’ has created and dismantle them to incorporate what we feel as individuals so that we can understand how to show love to others, and ourselves. Reframing the way we look at things from a personal standpoint often lets us really see things for what they are. When reframed positively for a single person, Valentine’s Day can turn into a day where an individual celebrates the freedom that comes with a single life, and understand that love and spontaneity are intertwined sometimes.

The way we frame a particular event can enable us to form a concrete evaluation about it. The same goes for Valentine’s Day. Maybe if you try to manifest your perceptions about love, you can start focusing on what you have rather than what you desire, and make the most of it.

An undergraduate in Psychology, Shantanu is an aspiring Educational Psychologist who will be pursuing his Master’s in 2018 at the Ohio State University. He is adept with psychometric and statistical research, and has honed his grasp over psychology through a 4 year undergraduate course in Liberal Education at FLAME University, Pune.