Zoie Denton is an English junior and opinion columnist for Mustang News. The views expressed in this piece don’t necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.

Something about February 14th instills a frenzy in people. All of the sudden my happily single friends are dreading the sight of heart-shaped balloons and tacky stuffed animals— and honestly, I can’t blame them. I choose, however, to use this day to celebrate the entirety of love, not just the fluffy bits with chocolate and roses. 

So here is my (possibly irrational) pitch to celebrate Valentine’s Day holistically. To do this we have to gather up all the grit we have left and welcome heartbreak into our homes with open arms. Because what is heartbreak if not the universal connector? I’ve had my heart broken by women, men, a father, my dogs, rejection letters, best friends, false hope and quite often myself. 

Whether you’ve lost a partner, a friend, a pet or an idol, we’ve all experienced this uniquely painful, deeply pestering type of grief. Yet for some reason it feels stigmatized to grapple with our sadness out loud, and instead attempt to “suck it up” by distracting ourselves or hiding from these uncomfortable emotions. So this V-day let’s embrace the full love-cycle, from the shaky hands on the first date to the ones reaching for tissues months later. 

While grieving a loss of love myself some time ago, a close friend and forever an inspiration, responded to my pity party with “We are seeing the world through a more profound lens than everybody else right now.”

She, per usual, was right. 

Heartbreak, while agonizing, is transformative. It’s a time when you feel incredibly sensitive, but what a great opportunity to judge what definitively improves your mood. The pain you feel, or have felt, is a testament to your personal perseverance. It’s an ode to the courage you had to embrace the insanely vulnerable act of trusting someone.

Losing love is not losing. This world is full of people who have loved each other. This love does not dissipate, it follows you. It mends you, softens your edges and breathes forgiveness into your lungs. And we will love other people, the ones we never expected and the ones we waited years on. 

This fundamentally human urge to connect can’t exist without the pain that comes before, during, and after. Let’s honor that pain today, say a silent thank you for all the room it’s made.

I hope you don’t dismiss my ramblings as a gooey romantic, but instead use this day to celebrate all the times you did love. Most importantly, celebrate all the times it really, truly sucked. That’s love too. I would tell you to keep trying, keep falling in love, but you don’t need my voice telling you that— you will anyway. That’s what we do, we keep trying and putting ourselves out there because a lot of us just can’t help it. 

You will fall in love again, and I hope it’s great; I hope it feels big. I hope you learn things about yourself; I hope you change; I hope you feel like the connection you’ve made is unbreakable. And then I hope you get your heart broken; I hope you feel your heart cave in; I hope it hurts like hell. And then I hope you’ll try again.