Valentine’s day, a definition: the day that transforms every storefront into a red and pink, heart, flower, and balloon-filled wonderland, the day to tell your significant other, “I love you” with more than words, the day where how much money you spend determines how much you care, the day designed to make the single person feel as if they are better forgotten.

Let me take you down memory lane. It’s my memory lane, but perhaps, it’s similar to yours.

In elementary school my teachers would have everyone take a shoebox and decorate it so that classmates can give you Valentine’s Day cards. An entire portion of class was dedicated to walking around the classroom and one by one putting your cards in each box. Everyone got a card from everyone because the teacher made it clear, “You must have one card for each person or you can’t share cards with anyone at all!” Though everyone received cards, some kids got special gifts from other kids: flowers, teddy bears, heart shaped boxes of chocolates. That was elementary school! In middle school and high school, the teddies, bouquets, and boxes just got bigger, and that whole “everyone gets a card” rule no longer applied.

This won’t come to a surprise to most, but it might come as one to some. I’ve never had a Valentine before. That means, I’ve watched dozens of others receive gifts from people. I’ve heard of the romantic surprises and the fancy dinners, but I’ve never experienced it myself. In high school, if I got a carnation delivered to my desk, it was from a friend, certainly not a boy.

Year after year, I hear my valentine-less friends talk about how they “dread” this day. Sometimes it’s because they feel lonely, and other times, it’s because they just want a special someone in their life to share things with, or they’re missing someone they used to date. No matter the reason that you might be dreading it like those just mentioned, take it from me, it is possible to enjoy Valentine’s day alone. (After all, I’m an expert…)

I don’t dread February 14th; to me it’s just another day, another day to perform the greatest commandment ever told: to love.

This Valentine’s day, I will love, and I encourage you to do the same. February 14th, like every other day, is a great day to do these three things:

LOVE YOURSELF

You’re single. You’re not worthless. You might even be single by choice. If that’s the case, be confident in that decision. Whether you’re waiting for the one or dating just isn’t your thing, good for you. Own your choice, and do yourself a favor this holiday… love yourself a little bit more.

LOVE OTHERS

You’re not the only one without a Valentine. Think of a couple people that might need a “cheer me up.” Maybe it’s someone who recently went through a hard breakup or someone who has lost their spouse to death. Regardless, someone out there needs a friend especially on this day. Find that person, and show them extra love.

LOVE GOD

After all, He is love. Because of His love, He sent Jesus to die for us. There truly is no greater love than this. When you are aware of this kind of love, it’s a little bit harder to feel alone. While almost everyone else is out on a date, go to the park or go on a drive and pray. Pray to the One who will never leave you nor forsake you. Pray to the One who created love and is love.

Despite the American tendency to market love as a day or an emotion, it is so much more than that. Love is found in friendships that last, in family, and in our pursuit of God. If you’re single on February 14th, don’t feel like you’re left out, because you’re not. Love is not found in a box of chocolates, a fuzzy emotion, or a bouquet of flowers. Love is inside each of us and can be shown to those around us every day of the year, if we just choose to do so.

“‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

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