While I have dated men and had relationships in the past, I still ended up single on Valentine's Day every year without fail. When you think about it, this is mainly a timing issue, but it still hurt nonetheless.
When I was younger, my only interactions with Valentine's Day festivities included exchanging those boxed Valentines to your classmates as well as between my family and friends. However, being young, insecure, and romantically alone on February 14 certainly takes its toll and makes you feel like isolated in a sea of pinks/reds, flowers, chocolates, and teddy bears.
However, in recent years, I finally came to the realization that Valentine's Day is all about love in general even though it is not marketed within that mindset. There is love in your family, friends (if you're a "Parks and Recreation" fan, celebrate Galentine's Day on the 13th to celebrate your gal pals!), pets, hobbies, passions, dreams, and even yourself.
Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that "Valentine's Day puts a lot of pressure on couples to have a perfect day so just be thankful you're single and not running around like those fools" because I don't think that's cool. I know life can get lonely especially on this day, but that doesn't mean it's suddenly OK to put down other people who are trying to show affection towards their significant others. They are allowed to be in love; why not be happy for them?
I've had some pretty good Valentine's Days since that realization a few years ago which has paired quite nicely with learning to love myself, warts and all. In addition to exchanging gifts with loved ones, I've made myself a lovely breakfast, I've sat outside and thought about all the things I'm grateful for, and I've made goals to not say anything negative about myself that day (ideally this would be an everyday thing, but it's OK to take baby steps!). I even spent last year's day of love working at my previous job for some hard-earned pay and had a blast doing it!
It's easy to get yourself down each year, but there's a lot more to life than romantic love. This year, spend the day treating yourself (shoutout to Whitman's chocolate samplers), remind your loved ones that you appreciate them, and share some kindness with a stranger. As you may remember, the Parkland school shooting happened on February 14 last year and a lot of people will be grieving, so you could donate to a worthy cause towards ending mass shootings, listen and believe survivors, and overall continue fighting for justice just like you would any other day.
It doesn't matter if you're single. Valentine's Day is still a day of love, so go out and spread some this year. The world could use it.