Valentine’s Day: a joy if you’re blessed with a wonderful relationship, an annoyance (or worse) if you’re single and unhappy about it, or in a “challenging” (aka miserable) relationship . . .

But what if - splendidly coupled, despairingly single, or somewhere in between - you chose, this Valentine’s Day to fall in love with your LIFE! To expand the idea of a day devoted to the love in our lives beyond that “special person,” mate or significant other, and celebrate the love throughout your life: the love of your friends, your pets, your family members, your community, your living space, your occupation, your body, your very self. All the love that permeates your life, if you just for a moment, stop to see it.

Valentine’s Day is that moment. Notice, all through your day, the love - the appreciation, the kindness, the caring - that your friends, pets, family, co-workers, cashiers, barristas, all those we share this planet with, extend to us in small and large ways. Smiles, a kind word, a helping hand - these, and so much more, we receive throughout our days. More, if you offer your love - your smile, your kindness, your help - to those you encounter as you live the ordinary time of your life.

Personally, I make it a practice to say “thank you” when it’s unexpected, for things that are too easily taken for granted. I travel a lot for my work, and I’ve surprised more than one TSA officer by saying “Thank you for keeping us safe,” and cleaning personnel in public restrooms by saying “Thank you for keeping things clean for all of us.” You should see the pleased look roadway construction workers give me when I thank them! Or grocery store managers when I ask for “the compliment department.” I do my best to keep my awareness high of the many ways in which people, from nears and dears to strangers, fill my life with love.

You see, love isn’t only romance and passion. Love is the care with which you do whatever it is you do, the consideration and respect you give to those you interact with. And it is this love, freely and virtually unconsciously given by those I encounter throughout my days, in so many unique and varied ways, that enriches and inspires my life.

Valentine’s Day! Yes, of course, celebrate the love with that special someone, but take fullest advantage of this remarkable and wondrous day to celebrate love! For it is truly all around you, every moment of every day, well worth celebrating.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of nine best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. Visit,