It’s easy to feel alone on Valentine’s Day if you do not have a “special someone” to celebrate the holiday with. Living in a monogamous society that is in many ways, obsessed with the concept of romance, being single is often seen as being synonymous with being alone.

In reality, Valentine’s Day has some rather dark origins. In ancient Rome, around the time of what is now Valentine’s Day, Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, where men would beat women with the hides of animals they had killed. At the time, they believed this practice would make the women more fertile. There was also a lottery system where men and women would be coupled up for the entire festival. The name Valentine’s Day also comes from the Catholic martyrdom of two men who were executed on Feb. 14 in separate years: both named Valentine. 

Somehow, the festival and the executions muddled together, and Valentine’s Day turned into a day focused on fertility and love. It wasn’t until Shakespeare came around that the holiday became much more romanticized, and then spread across Europe and carried over into the United States. 

Now, Valentine’s Day is a day where people indulge in buying cards and candy and jewelry in an attempt to show their romantic love to another person. We have definitely come a long way from beating people to show our love, but the focus still shouldn’t just be on romantic love. Romantic love is important, and finding someone you can spend your time with is so special, but that is not something that everyone needs. 

This holiday can be hard for many people — whether they are single or simply not interested in being with anyone — but it’s time we all recognize the many different types of love around us. Valentine’s Day should be about all the love we experience in our day-to-day lives. 

This year, take time out of your day to celebrate everyone you love. Send a card to a family member you love or miss. Share with them how much you care about them and all the ways their love makes you happy. Spend time with friends you care about. Go out to a nice dinner or a movie and celebrate the beauty that is your friendship. It may sound corny or stupid, but taking time to truly appreciate your relationships is important to making sure they can thrive. 

And, perhaps most importantly, celebrate the love you have for yourself. Take time to practice self-love in whatever way feels best. This can be through a nice walk throughout campus or a cozy dinner by yourself. What ever you need to do to make yourself feel loved, take time to do that this holiday. 

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t just be about romance and intimacy. It should be about love — in whichever way you feel it.