From chocolates to serenades by Penn Glee Club, there are almost too many ways to celebrate those you cherish on Valentine’s Day. But, the day dedicated to celebrating romantic love has passed. This year, inspired by Miley Cyrus’ newest single “Flowers,” I decided to spend the holiday focusing on myself. While I didn’t actually buy myself flowers, I tried to embody the spirit of the song by loving myself better than anyone else can. Anyone can embrace this sentiment, regardless of their relationship status. To countless people across the globe—single, committed and anywhere in between—“Flowers” is the new self–love anthem we've all been waiting for.
Cyrus released “Flowers” on Jan. 13—her ex–husband Liam Hemsworth's birthday. With its notable release date, fans couldn’t help but theorize that the song was directed towards him. Fans speculate its lyrics “I can buy myself flowers / Write my name in the sand / Talk to myself for hours / Say things you don’t understand / I can take myself dancing / And I can hold my own hand” is a reference to Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” which Hemsworth is rumored to have once dedicated to Cyrus. And that's not where the references end either: many other lyrics reference significant moments within their relationship, such as “Built a home and watched it burn,” referring to their old house which burned down in the Woolsey Fire of 2018.
Throughout the course of the music video, Cyrus grows increasingly confident and joyous as she removes the parts of her past that previously restrained her. As she rips her vintage gold Yves Saint Laurent off her body, she physically represents her active removal of her burdensome past. She washes herself from it further, shown by her diving into a pool. And Cyrus doesn’t just end there—she goes even further to strengthen herself as she strenuously works out during part of the video.
The video ends with Cyrus chaotically dancing in clothing that is again speculated to be a reference to Hemsworth. As she dances, she wears a blazer that fans noticed was similar to the one that Hemsworth's choice of outerwear at the premiere of Avengers: Endgame, where she (virally) playfully pretended to lick him—to which he mouthed, “Behave for once.” As Cyrus dances with her blazer—whether the style choice was coincidental or not—it's clear that she is basking in her independence: alone and happier because of it.
The man who was once the “love of [Cyrus’] life” is now the inspiration for her self–love celebration. Rather than act as another sad break–up song, “Flowers,” with Cyrus’ powerful vocals and upbeat tempo, is optimistic. Besides scouring through lyrics and the music video for Easter Eggs about Hemsworth, people can simply enjoy the song for its contagious empowerment and validation.
Since its release, “Flowers” globally dominated music charts at #1, from the Billboard Hot 100 to the U.K. Top 40. It broke the record for most streams within a week during its initial release—and broke that record again the week after. Miley Cyrus became the female artist with the most monthly listeners on Spotify, a title formerly held by Taylor Swift.
Cyrus uses “Flowers” to remind us that it’s okay to be alone. We don't need other people to feel loved, because we can love ourselves instead. And truly, we know love best when we receive it—not from other people, but from ourselves.
But maybe next Valentine’s Day, I'll finally muster up the courage to go out and buy myself flowers.