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The secret to a great solo valentine's day

We've made it past Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's and have entered the "holiday home stretch" to Valentine's Day, which is quickly approaching. Are you ready...or are you fretting? Let's talk about how to make it a great one, even without a lover.

For the single woman, Valentine's Day can stir up all kinds of angst. Society bombards us with messages of what "love" looks like and how partners "should or would" show their love if we had one. Let me just say this about that: bullshit.

Those commercials where a piece of diamond jewelry is given in some romantic setting to say "I love you" might be nice and it certainly doesn't hurt if you're into that kind of thing. But let me tell you—getting something special on Valentine's Day doesn't make or break the quality of a person or a partnership.

So let me share a little secret about valentine's day: there are a lot of jerks out there who give their partners jewelry or whatever on Valentine's Day, and there are a lot of relationships that won't be saved by it. So get that marketing fantasy out of your head.

Let's get real instead. Valentine's Day is a day like any other for letting the people you truly care about know you love them. I hope you do that in some way every day, and not with presents but with your presence.

Got anyone special in your life? A dear friend? A parent? A relative? A colleague or coworker? Great! How can you let them know you appreciate them today? Don't wait for V-Day; there's no need. Show them now and show them frequently. V-Day becomes obsolete when you do, just another day of sharing your love.

If you feel alone, remind yourself you're not by joining a group activity or just getting out in the world to have some fun. Take a walk in nature. Sit by a river. Let the Sun warm your face and feel true gratitude just for being alive. You'll see plenty of other people out there, doing what they love just because they love it.

Or treat yourself to something special. Book a "spa day" for yourself, get a mani and/or a pedi, have some champagne, buy yourself flowers, chocolate, a sexy nightie, or anything else that makes you feel special and loved just because you are and you can.

Take yourself out on a date to do things you really love. Maybe that's seeing a movie, going to a museum, getting a ticket for a show, or just having a special meal at a favorite restaurant. Maybe it's taking a trip to see something new or one of your favorite places. Maybe it's drawing a bubble bath with wine, candles and your favorite book or music. It doesn't have to be something big, just special.

Or make a point to share the love you carry inside. Smile at the tired store clerk or postal person and let them know how grateful you are for their service. Adopt a pet or do something really special for the one you have. Help out at a food pantry. Volunteer with your church. Help a neighbor. Visit a friend. There are so many places to connect with people in loving ways. We are never alone.

So as Valentine's Day approaches, instead of moping around wishing you were the woman in the sappy commercial specifically designed to sell something to someone, focus on turning every day into a great day to share your love with the people in your life and in the world around you.

Remember: if you change nothing, nothing changes.

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