Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

A: Being single is not a sentence for loneliness, unhappiness or selfishness any more than being a couple guarantees happiness, generosity or fulfillment. Here are some truths worth knowing about single life, married life, and life in general.

Happiness is mostly an inside job. Consistently making anyone or anything outside yourself the source of your happiness is a recipe for disappointment and disempowerment. Why? It places your happiness at the mercy of other people's moods, behaviors, and unforeseen life events. Choose things over which you do have control to ensure a more consistent happiness quota!

High on the list of those strategies includes practicing gratitude every day. This can sound trite, but it is scientifically proven that evoking feelings of gratitude turns on the biochemistry of well-being. And a habit of focusing on what's right in your life has a positive, cumulative effect on feeling content.

Feeling good in your own company also is an important part of self-empowerment and spiritual evolution. Anyone, no matter your relationship status, who does not fill their every waking moment with being busy, will begin to experience themselves without all the distractions. This means feeling the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly of this human existential condition we all share. The ability to acknowledge feelings and feel them without any judgments, allows us to move through life just like weather. This simple practice is another source of self-empowerment and inner peace.

Studies indicate that marital status is not a determining factor when it comes to being selfish, the self-referential behavior that has no room for anyone else. The opposite extreme is selflessness, which allows no room for self-care and self-nourishment. And there is the middle ground, which I call self-ful, which means taking care of your needs, having plenty of room in your psyche for others, and practicing random acts of kindness. Becoming self-ful is another way to take control of your own happiness.

Bottom line: Ignore the Valentine's Day hype. Get in the driver's seat of your own happiness. Focus on what you have. If you want flowers or chocolates and no one is giving them to you this Valentine's Day, skip the poor me role and be happy knowing you can also provide these pleasures for yourself or for someone else. Remember, random acts of kindness uplift the giver and the receiver.