Valentine’s Day is one of my least favorite holidays. One could assume this is because I’m currently single; however, I never liked it even when I was in a relationship. I think you should ALWAYS share your love with the person you are with, and not be forced to do it one day a year at exorbitant prices with ridiculous expectations. However, I do really like the chocolate and candy part. Also the idea of celebrating love.
Now that I’ve climbed down off the soapbox, I do want to take this opportunity (after a long break from blogging) to discuss love in more detail. Specifically, I want to discuss self love. And no, get your minds out of the gutters, not THAT kind of self love Valentine’s Day traditionally celebrates romantic love. I would argue that if you’re not secure with yourself, it’s hard to be in a successful romantic relationship.
A couple quotes to throw in there:
Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all
Do not do unto yourself what you would not do unto others.
A lot of us can be very giving when it comes to other people, but we don’t take the time to stop and give to ourselves at all. As I frequently tell the parents I work with in therapy, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” If you can’t take the time to find little things to take care of yourself, you will burn out and it will be hard to give to signficant others in your life, be they a partner, children, pets, clients, etc.
What things bring you joy? Sure, the first things that come to mind for me might be big ticket items like a tropical island vacation or a spa day. What are the little things that bring you joy on a daily basis? Some of mine are my puppy Tansy, a delicious cup of dark roast coffee so thick the spoon stands up with half and half, good dark chocolate, doing handstands, and getting at least a little bit of fresh air and sunshine daily. Taking the time to enjoy these little moments creates lots of little opportunities for self-care. A week long vacation sounds great but it can be expensive and hard to take time off. You can usually find the time to mindfully enjoy something you love, even for one minute. Check out my friend Jennifer Pastiloff’s blog for more ideas on finding joy.
When I get around to it, I am going to write a blog post about New Year’s Resolutions (clearly not procrastinating isn’t one of them lol). One of my resolutions was to meditate more. [Check out the Hot and Healthy meditation challenge!] I personally love the Loving Kindness meditation (check the hyperlink for more information). I find it a very helpful and healing meditation.
Here is one version of it:
Find a comfortable position. Begin by focusing the meditation upon yourself. Repeat the following phrases to yourself.
May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.
Continue to repeat, while focusing on yourself until you begin yourself fill with love and acceptance of yourself. Next, bring your awareness to someone in your life that you love. Extend the loving kindness meditation to them. Next, chose someone to whom you have neutral feelings (neither strong loving nor bad feelings) and focus the meditation on them. From there, chose someone with whom you are struggling with your relationship. Finally, extend loving kindness to the universe.
See how you feel when you’re done. I find myself filled with peace and love and often a sense of release.
There are numerous variations on this meditation. I summarized and selected based on a large number of readings. Feel free to explore and modify as you like!
Finally, I’d like to close with my favorite Hafiz poem of all time in honor of Valentine’s day.
Even after all this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with a love like that
It lights the whole sky.