When you think of Valentine’s Day, do you feel pleasure? Complain? Anger? If you’re single, Valentine’s Day, along with New Year’s, are the two most hated holidays. Too many singles say they “go into hiding” on February 14th.

However, Valentine’s Day is not about lovers; it’s about love. It’s been marketed for lovers, but it’s really a time to connect with the people you care about. Amidst the hearts and flowers that have been associated with this day, the origin of the holiday is lost.

In fact, there is no agreed origin. There are numerous stories about the Valentine man and the feast of love. They range from Roman days honoring the god Lupercus, to Emperor Claudius forbidding marriage, to Pope Gelasium turning a pagan game of romance into a game about saints.

You can choose which version of the origin of the holiday you prefer, in the same way you can choose how to relate to Valentine’s Day. It can be a day of shame because you do not love and are not loved by a special person, or you can honor this day by recognizing those people who make your life better. Valentine’s Day is not about lovers, it’s about love.

Here are some tips on how to make this a special day.

  1. Send cards to all your loved ones, men and women, young and old. Recipients will not only feel appreciated, but will be reminded of how blessed they are to have so many special people in their lives. For a fun keepsake from your school days, buy a pack of the colorful cards you used to hand out to your classmates, or make them yourself.
  2. Honor service people who make your life better. Give cards to people in your everyday life, showing how much you appreciate them. It can be the person who cuts your hair or cleans your house. It may be the bank teller who helps you when your checkbook gets out of balance. You don’t have to wait for Christmas to let your mail clerk know that you appreciate the effort they put into bringing you 30 mail order catalogs a day. Think of the people who make your life easier; this is the day to remind yourself (and them) that you don’t take them for granted.
  3. Spend it with friends. Specifically, choose February 14 to spend with people you appreciate but don’t count on often enough. Take your favorite co-worker or office assistant out to lunch. Or host a Valentine’s dinner for good friends.
  4. Send flowers to yourself. Instead of getting depressed or feeling sorry for yourself because there is no man in your life who sends you flowers, send them to yourself. Flowers are the love letters of mother nature.
  5. Monitor your music. If you are likely to have a hard time on February 14, make sure that in the days leading up to the 14 you are not listening to love songs or songs about longing for love or about love with a broken heart.
  6. Do not hide. Don’t pretend it’s not Valentine’s Day. Say Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone you see. Wear a heart pin or at least wear red and white.
  7. If you’re blue, don’t fight it. Give yourself permission to be sad because there is no loving man in your life. Give yourself an hour, even two, for your “Pity Party.” Then it stops. Move on. Be careful not to drain your unhappiness into excess alcohol, drugs, or food. There is no reason to abuse yourself just because you are lonely and sad.

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