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Valentine’s Day isn’t all love and happiness for everyone. For people who fly solo, it can be yet another painful reminder of past relationships or a longing to be in a new one—even if they enjoy being alone. It’s natural to feel a twinge of jealousy when social media and the real world alike are flooded with joyous couples and their romantic, considerate acts of love. Before you call your ex, here’s some advice on how to flip the script on this dreaded holiday. 

Being alone doesn’t mean you have to feel lonely or inadequate. This Valentine’s Day, begin (or strengthen) your commitment to loving yourself. Appreciate your thoughtful mind, your strong body, your inner beauty, your unique interests, and everything that makes you who you are. Carry this energy forward into the rest of the month, year, and onward to inspire happiness from within.

Of course, recognize and love your partner if you are in a healthy romantic relationship, but also take this time to reflect on what makes you a divine being. What can you do to improve upon yourself? Are you doing things that make you feel recognized and happy? Are you kind to others? Do your peers empower and support you the way you deserve? Focus on the positives and work out a way to eliminate any negatives. Create goals that will elevate your lifestyle, and never settle for less than the best for yourself.

Despite an attempt to be so optimistic and happy-go-lucky, I understand the fact that this attitude might not be possible for everyone. No matter what, try to take time and treat yourself to something nice. Get your nails done, buy a new face mask, bake some delicious cookies, take a nap, or catch up on your favorite show. We all need a break sometimes, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to indulge in  a mental rest.

If social media makes you uneasy, go offline for the weekend. If you need to feel connected, surround yourself with friends and celebrate platonic love by exchanging small gifts, cooking a group meal, or having a movie night. If you need time away from socialization altogether, light a candle and meditate in a cozy room. Don’t listen to glaring images of what you think your life should be filled with; social media is posed and framed to look “perfect.” listen to your heart instead and do whatever self care you need to feel content. 

Never forget that you come first, and  never allow others’ ideas of what happiness should be to overtake what you feel and need to live a happy, healthy life.

Kayla is a sophomore Social Media Theory and Strategy student at Kutztown University. Her interests range from youth activism to the latest beauty trends, so she is always glad to see these topics brought into the online networking world.