You run from store to store looking for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift, the one that will truly express how you feel about your love. And be something she or he will really likes.

Right. That last part’s a bit of a problem. The things your beloved will really like may be way outside your pocket-book, so back you go into the mall – or into a more intensive web-search.

Then of course, there’s shopping for the perfect Valentine Day experience, because heaven knows, going to McDonald’s is not going to cut it. Whatever it is, the experience probably should be expensive, you sigh, because after all you want your love to know how special he or she is, and in our society, special seems to involve a whole lot of cash. So now you’re shopping for restaurants, get-aways, bed and breakfasts, worried the whole time if you can afford any of this.

Somewhere along the way, you grumble “Valentine’s Day shouldn’t just be another shopping experience!” And you’re right. 100% right. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves of how special and wonderful love is, be that between lovers, family members, friends, even pets. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to love. And that doesn’t cost a cent.

How about really indulging that opportunity? How about sitting down with pen and paper, and coming up with 101 reasons why you love that special person, family member or friend? OK, 10 in a pinch. But however few or many reasons you come up with, how about really thinking about those reasons, spending not money, but a moment to reflect on how very much you appreciate this special person in your life?

Then, step two, how about when you see your love, you allow your appreciation of them to flood your whole being and light your face up with a smile. How about if you tell them how happy it made you to create the list you now present to them. How lucky you feel to have such a delicious person in your life. How blessed and grateful you are to experience the depth of love you feel, all because of that special person.

Isn’t that really what Valentine’s Day is all about? Love, the gloriousness of love, how it transforms us into joyous beings, and uplifts all those around us.

Sure, have the fun of shopping and creating a memorable Valentine’s Day for the two of you to share. Celebrations are wonderful, and well worth spending time and money on.

But in addition, remember the true meaning of Valentine’s Day. An opportunity to love. Take that opportunity and embrace it with all your heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of nine best-selling books, including her most recent, Your Man is Wonderful and Dangerous Relationships. 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,