For couples, Valentine's Day is a chance to celebrate the love you share with another person. If you're not part of a couple, however, the whole day can be a depressing reminder of all that's missing in your life.
But it doesn't have to be, says Kathleen McIntire, author of "Guiding Signs 101." Instead, use Valentine's Day as a day to start loving yourself, she advises.
"In our culture, we're so used to looking outside of ourselves for validation," she says. "But the most important thing is to love ourselves. When you learn to do that and start accepting yourself for exactly who you are, you're already in a place of love."
Too many people only focus on the negative parts of themselves, McIntire says. An important part of loving yourself is learning to listen to the voice inside you that brings you down.
"There's a lot of power in witnessing something," McIntire says. "Sit in silence for 15 minutes every day and just be. Then, learn to be kinder to yourself. Give yourself the love you want from other people."
When you learn to love yourself, McIntire says, you'll reap several key benefits: you'll be happier, healthier and more confident, all of your relationships with other people will improve, and your life will flow more smoothly.
On Valentine's Day, a day traditionally celebrated with another person, McIntire encourages single people to treat themselves the way they would want a partner to treat them.
"Do something really special for yourself," she says. "Ask yourself what you deserve. Use your special candles. Set the table for dinner and play beautiful music. Make yourself a Valentine card or write a love letter to yourself and have a friend mail it to you when you're not expecting it. Do something, because we are the only ones who are with us 100 percent of the time. We need to start loving ourselves at some point."
In addition, McIntire says there is some merit behind the old saying that once you stop looking for love, it will find you.
"When you're looking, you're always seeking," she says. "Seeking is the act of not having. When you love yourself, you're in a state of having. It's a lot more likely that love will happen when you're happy by yourself than if you're frantically looking for another person to make you happy."