Feel the Love
February 14th is well-known as national Love Day. Unfortunately, our society often makes us feel as if we need a significant other to celebrate Valentine’s Day – otherwise, there’s something wrong.
But this mindset couldn’t be further from the truth. Valentine’s Day is not just for those in romantic relationships like Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal in Love Story or Patrick Swazye and Demi Moore in Ghost. Real love flows much broader than that. We feel it when we’re with our children, siblings, parents, and close friends. In fact, we even witness glimpses of it in strangers who perform selfless acts of kindness when we least expect it.
Yet there is another important relationship that we often miss. I’m referring to the one we have with ourselves. Do we truly love ourselves? Or do we constantly judge, criticize, and scrutinize our bodies, thoughts, and actions on a daily basis? It’s natural to confuse self-love with being selfish. But it’s not. The airlines have it right. We are unable to help others put on their oxygen masks if we, ourselves, are not breathing.
Therefore, as much as roses, chocolates, and jewelry are famed Valentine’s tokens, I am beginning to shift gears and realize that February 14th is about all kinds of love – not just the rock my heart and make me fall to my knees love that we see in the movies. Rather, it’s a time to focus on loving all of those around me, including myself.
Love requires feeling with our heart, listening to our body instead of our mind, and acting mindfully. While love is a many splendored thing, it can also be a confusing emotion. How do we know how much love is enough? How do we spread our love to everyone? How do we make sure that we make time to love ourselves? And why, at times, can loving another be so damn hard, requiring a great deal of sacrifice, patience, and understanding? Sometimes love necessitates taking a break, keeping some distance, and allowing space. Still, love is patient, love is kind, love is necessary.
Consider looking at Valentines’ Day a bit differently. Instead of identifying it with red and pink hearted cards and dinner dates, envision it as a reminder of our endless ability to love those around us.
While February 14th has already passed, our ability to love is strong and continuous. How could we be more authentic and unconditional with our love? Pause for a moment and identify one person in need of some loving – maybe it's you. Then commit to a single act of kindness and let the love flow!