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Love goes beyond Valentine’s Day

The Beatles said it best in 1967: “Love is all you need.” However, Tina Turner turned that idea upside down when she asked in her 1984 song, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” Whether you’ve been burned by a significant other or are in love with being in love, tomorrow – Valentine’s Day – is a day to celebrate that crazy little thing called love, as British supergroup Queen called it in 1982.

Unlike Christmas and Thanksgiving, which are major holidays for most, Valentine’s Day is a holiday that is regarded in a variety of ways. First, there are those who regard V-Day as a big deal, going all out for their significant other and buying half of Walgreens’ supply of red hearts filled with chocolates in the process. Next, there are the loathers, who hate when each Feb. 14 rolls around, either because they can’t stand the commercialism that the holiday brings or because they are single. Finally, there’s the group of folks that see the holiday as benign. It’s just another day to them: nothing special.

None of these views of Valentine’s Day are wrong; however, each group may be limiting the potential of what V-Day and its spirit of love can bring. Just as showing peace on earth and good will toward men is not limited to Christmas, showing love and affection for loved ones is not limited to Valentine’s Day. Since the spirit of love is supposed to last all year, Valentine’s Day merely serves as a reminder of this.

Love doesn’t need to be shown by purchasing flashy objects that will fade, however. One can show those they love how they feel just by treating them with love and respect. It’s rooted in a basic concept, one that many were taught back in elementary school – “treat others how you want to be treated.” The special people in an individual’s life deserve this. Yet as obvious as it may seem, many people forget to do this in the daily rush of life.

This practice of showing love to others is not limited merely to loved ones, either. Love is something that should be shown to everyone – such as strangers and acquaintances – however unlovable they may seem. This is because Valentine’s Day – and each subsequent day thereafter – is not limited to romantic love. One can love other people as fellow human beings, even if they do not necessarily know them. A famous man named Jesus popularized the concept, giving his followers an additional commandment to live by – to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Follower of Jesus or not, the commandment still seems like a pretty good idea. Humans cannot get through life by themselves, though they surely try. They need help – other people – to meet the demands that living life puts on them. However, people do not need to try to save the world in order to help other people – the smallest act of love can be one that makes all the difference. It can be as small as holding the door open for someone, letting someone into the flow of traffic while driving, giving someone in line at the grocery some extra change if they’re coming up a little short or smiling at someone. People may not think of these acts of kindness as acts of love, but they are.

Mother Teresa, who could be considered the queen of selflessness, while giving tirelessly of herself to the poor in Calcutta, explained the importance of small acts such as these when she said, “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Living life in a manner such as this shows that people don’t necessarily have to care for the poor in Calcutta (though that would be nice) to spread a revolution of love throughout the world – it starts with one person. That one person could be you.

Amanda Whitsitt is a senior majoring in mass communications.