Valentine’s Day is fast approaching--along with all the romance, roses and chocolate traditionally part of the day's celebration.

But here’s the thing. Why should Valentine’s Day be reserved for romance alone? Why don't we celebrate love itself?

A Canadian resident, Karri Carberry, 19, was introduced to a band called “Three Days Grace” by her Dad a number of years ago, a passion they happily shared. So when the band was scheduled to play in Edmonton, Alberta, she immediately got tickets and invited her Dad to come with. There was just one hiccup; her Dad is now deaf. This, however, did not deter either of them. Karri interpreted the lyrics in sign language for her Dad, so he too could enjoy the concert. When other members of the audience – at first annoyed by Karri’s signing (“What is that girl up to?!”) – realized what she was doing, they were astounded, and ended up entranced by her interaction with her Dad.

No greater love hath a daughter!

This, to me, is the true meaning of Valentine’s Day. A recognition of the love we have for each other, and a celebration of that love through words and actions that reflect it. Yes, flowers and romantic dinners are marvelous. But so is signing for your deaf Dad, taking over the family chores so Mom can have a day to herself, and encouraging your little sister that yes, she can be president one day.

Love comes in many forms, and can be expressed in a myriad of ways. Be mindful of just what would spell “love” to those you cherish. Don’t restrict yourself to tangible things. On the contrary, open yourself, for example, to how valuable appreciation, praise and encouragement are.

Think back to what it felt like when someone let you know that you were worthy, capable, or that you inspired them to be more than they thought they could be. That’s love! Just because it didn’t come on Valentine’s Day wrapped in a gold ribbon is it any less special.

This Valentine’s Day, give what is most precious to those you love, in ways that will touch them deeply. This Valentine’s Day, celebrate love! You’ll be loving yourself in the process.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, consultant, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of over a dozen 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. She is the author of “Happy Healthy…Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right” (MindLab Publishing). You Matter. You Count. You Are Important. Visit,, #MeetTheAmazings, @drnoellenelson