Hearts, candy, stuffed animals, pink, roses, love letters, tears, chocolate…make it stop. Or rather, stop making that mess the focus. Try not to be pretentious and decorate your room with black streamers and throw a heart-shaped box of chocolates at the wall. One, what are you trying to prove and to whom? Two, it’s a crime to waste chocolate.

I won’t lie and say that I don’t appreciate the occasional rose (or a bouquet…who am I kidding?). But, honestly, we get so caught up in someone else’s idea of Valentines Day that we fail to realize you can make that day whatever you want. The key word being: you.

When was the last time any of us thought of Valentine’s Day as a day for ourselves? It is a day to honor love. We seem to dub this holiday as a jamboree for couples, and if you don’t have a significant other, it serves as a stark realization that you are single. It’s always black or white–nothing in between. But it shouldn’t be that way.

If this day is truly about love, then it should be celebrated through every avenue one could think of. Valentines Day should not bind love into one specific category. In focusing on one type of love such as relationships, we create an “other”. This “other” encompasses everyone who does not have that connection and in turn, some are left to stand in the headlights of this holiday, blinded by the stark feeling of: I don’t have that.

Now, many individuals rejoice in that! That’s what should be happening. Valentines Day is a holiday dedicated to rejoicing in the entire concept of love. Just because you may not be in a fairytale relationship, does not mean that you should focus on the anti-love. Instead, why not love yourself? We are our worst critics. Use this day to stand up for yourself and appreciate even the smallest things that make you smile.

Giving yourself affection and nurturing is not selfish. In fact, how can you give love to someone else, if you don’t even know how to love who you are? For goodness sake, send yourself some roses and just see how you feel. Maybe you’ll feel splendid and think: wow, you know what, I really deserved that, thanks me. It’s also possible you’ll feel weird and find the situation entirely awkward. But, you never know until you try. So try!

If anything, strive to make Valentines Day a celebration in which an “other” does not exist. The holiday is not named the “Exclusive Celebration for Fabulous Couples”. If you’re a single person who wants to celebrate Valentines Day, then by all means please do. Find anything or anyone that you absolutely love and automatically you are part of the celebration. The hearts and the candy and the kisses don’t have to define what that day means to you.

Smile at a stranger. Hug your cat (if it will let you). Call mom and dad. Call your siblings. Call grandma and grandpa. Just call the whole family. Tell the cashier to have a nice day. Spend the day with your closest friends. Host a solo dance party. See 50 Shades of Grey…am I right?

The answer to a meaningful Valentines Day is to focus on every type of love that exists in your life. Love does not exclude, so why should we exclude it? My challenge to each and everyone one of you is to enjoy this holiday, no matter where you are at in life. It’s not about what you don’t have. If we were all to just take a step back and realize what love really means, I think every single person can find something to rejoice in on Valentines Day.