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Jack Valentine, seeking nothing in return, gives out a much-needed hug

Valentine’s Day fills most people with dread. Sure some people love it and go happily overboard on chocolate, flowers and romantic comedies. But most of us know it’s a terrible “holiday” – couples are railroaded into buying candy and flowers, or lingerie and diamonds, or maybe science textbooks and skydiving packages or other shit we don’t want or need, and get no credit for, because it’s an obligation.

If it’s done – if you tick the Valentine’s Day box, then you get a pass, but if you don’t than you’re a shitheel.

The good news is that, with Valentine’s Day displays and pop up calendar reminders, you’re unlikely to forget. The bad news is that the holiday is unoriginal and forced. Even complaining about it – in the manner above, is hackneyed. Nothing original about it. So what to do?

How about instead of (or in addition to) doing something nice or thoughtful for someone who expects it, try doing something nice and thoughtful for someone who doesn’t expect it.

My friend Greg Shapiro has created the perfect Valentine’s Day celebration. It’s called V-Day Random Acts of Kindness. (Yeah, like the foundation) He describes it like this:

Celebrate Valentines Day by committing 7 Random Acts of Kindness. The more spontaneous the better:
– ‘Write thank you cards; distribute to teachers.’ 
– ‘Write glowing Linked-in recommendation for old colleague.’ 
– ‘Buy an extra coffee for the person in line behind you at Starbucks.’ 

Count ’em up; report back here. 
Sorry, no irony intended. Just good karma.

I’m on board, and you might enjoy doing the same.

In fact, as one participant pointed out on the event wall, doing nice things for people actually helps rewire our brains to make us happier.  “According In one study, people who did a ‘three good things’ exercise for a week felt happier and less depressed after one month.” These acts actually rewire our brains for positivity and happiness.

And you don’t need to be in a couple.

So yeah, do the right thing – the selfish thing – this Valentine’s Day, and do something nice for someone else. Fuck it, join the V-Day Random Acts of kindness group, and do seven nice things!

You may make someone’s day, and – apparently scientifically proven – you’ll make yourself happier in the process.

Happy Valentine’s Day.