Feb 132005
 
Authors: Jennifer Johnson

Love is in the air on today, giving people the chance to express their feelings to family, friends and romantic partners.

"At its best, Valentine's Day is a day for expressing love, caring and appreciation for the special people in our lives," said Cindy Swindell, senior staff psychologist at the University Counseling Center.

Swindell believes the meaning of Valentine's Day also creates a measure of one's worth as a person, sexual attractiveness and loveableness.

"It is an important day in our society, not only because of its meaning, but also due to the great emphasis given to it through media attention and institutional traditions," she said. "As individuals, so many of us accept, encourage and maintain the meaning, importance and the expectations related to this holiday."

As a mental health professional, Swindell raised the question of whether Valentine's Day should be so important to people individually and within their significant relationships.

"Valentine's Day inspires perhaps more expectations and obligations than any other holiday. As a result it poses greater risk for stress, distress, disappointment and relational conflict," she said.

Swindell believes that aside from Valentine's Day's positive effects, there is also a chance for not having someone's expectations met, which can leave individuals to question their relationship.

"Romantic partners have the best chance of enjoying Valentine's Day if they have shared with each other the expectations they have of this holiday," she said. "Then they will have a better chance of expressing their love and appreciation for their partner in ways that will be satisfying and delightful."

If a student is not in a relationship, Swindell suggests he or she spend the day with valued friends and family members.

"They should use this as a day to appreciate the friendships they do have," she said. "You are more likely to get through Valentine's Day with a healthy mind and heart if you use it as a chance to do something fun, or meaningful."

Valentine's Day has several different meanings, and students feel differently about what the day signifies.

"I think the day is a little overrated only because I don't think people need a recognized, national holiday to celebrate their love for one another," said Jessica Ciarvella, a senior technical journalism major. "Although, since Americans lead very busy lives, I think the holiday allows people to set time aside to spend romantic, alone time together."

Ciarvella plans to spend the weekend with her boyfriend and Valentine's Day with her friends.

"My best Valentine's Day gift was a weekend full of skiing, delicious dinners and two nights in a beautiful condo in Vail," she said.

Joe Komorowski, a junior history major, said two weeks ago that he did not have plans for Valentine's Day, but he wanted to do something to celebrate the holiday.

"I think that Valentine's Day is a good time to get together with the ones you love and to express your romantic feelings," he said.

Although Komorowski feels Valentine's Day is supposed to make you feel happy, he has always felt that it is more of a "sappy" holiday.

"I think that students who are single should celebrate Valentine's Day with close friends or family," Ciarvella said. "Just because you don't have a boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't mean that you have to spend the day alone, you can spend it with other loved ones instead."

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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