It’s February 14th.

Right smack in the middle of the frosty season of winter lies a day meant to warm our hearts and indulge our senses; a day set aside for candlelit dinners, romantic love poems, and heartfelt expressions of affection. Bouquets of flowers, candy hearts, and life-sized, fluffy stuffed animals are everywhere…not to mention entire aisles at the supermarket overtaken by heart-shaped cards of all sizes.

But, what do you do when you find yourself wallowing in the blues of singledom instead of celebrating the burning passion of love?

Or, more specifically, curled up under the covers drowning your Valentine’s Day sorrows in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s? Okay, so maybe that is not exactly what you are doing. But some do take this route, opting for cynicism and proclaiming that Valentine’s Day is a ruthless plot constructed by greeting card companies to bump up their post-Christmas sales. The unfortunate result of this negativity is depressing those around you and, most significantly, yourself.

Although this day is yet another excuse for companies to make profits on large quantities of overpriced, sugar-coated goods, there’s no need to write off the holiday as entirely commercial or struggle through the day, scowling at happy couples.

Just how is one supposed to stay positive amidst the unavoidable merchandising that seems to single out your single-ness?

Simple. Take Valentine’s Day into your own hands and celebrate what is most obvious yet sometimes the most difficult to see-the true bliss of being single.

So you’re not sitting opposite anyone at a fancy restaurant or being fed chocolate truffles all afternoon. Is this honestly a reason to think something is missing from your life? We are not defined by our relationship status nor is it the extent of our identity.

As a single person, you have the advantage of possessing and cultivating the valuable qualities that are often diminished when in a relationship-independence and self-reliance. Often times, we come to depend on others to provide our happiness and allow them to validate our self-worth, not realizing that the greatest personal satisfaction comes from our ability to be content with ourselves.

If you’re waiting for someone else to fulfill or “complete” you, understand that a relationship consists of two whole individuals, both of whom need to be satisfied with themselves before ever succeeding as a couple. Every day, people compromise their own desires and standards for the sake of a significant other, proving that being partnered up on Valentine’s Day does not necessarily mean reveling in the joys of united bliss.

If you are single because of a recent breakup, acknowledge how fortunate it is that you’re smart enough to realize when it’s time to terminate a problematic or monotonous relationship. And at the risk of sounding like a gloomy old tightwad, think of all the time, money, and hassle you are saving from not having to shop for expensive gifts, flowers and candy. Treat yourself to something you normally wouldn’t with the dough you would be spending on someone else.

Purchase that new item you have been hankering for, spend an afternoon being pampered (for the ladies) or plan a fun-filled night of activities with other singles.

If you are still not sold on these ideas, here’s something ironic-although we may spend infinite time longing for that special someone, upon coupling up, we tend to think back and appreciate all that extra time we had for ourselves. Without the responsibilities of being attached, you have the opportunity to pursue interests, develop deep friendships and find what you’re most passionate about. And these are just some of the benefits of flying solo.

Embrace your free and unrestricted lifestyle and use it to your advantage! Plan a dinner-and-a-movie night with your closest friends, or have a “singles” gathering where you can be in the company of friends who are also solo and entirely happy with who they are.

Also, recognize that Valentine’s Day is a day to express gratitude towards the people you love, not just a partner. Be selfless and start off the day by sending a Valentine to someone who does not have a date or significant other to let them know they are appreciated, or take a young sibling or cousin out for a treat, as they often feel left out on this holiday. Giving to others is one of the best ways to feel good about yourself.

So all in all, until Mr. or Ms. Right shows up, understand that you have the freedom to change direction, the ability to look inward for support and the power to meet your own needs. You’re a strong, independent person and life is full of opportunities. It really is a beautiful thing.