I am a big fan of romantic love. A very big fan. And I'm all for having a day where we can celebrate those loving feelings. But... every Valentines I find myself worrying more about all the women who are so obsessed about being chosen by some dream man (or woman, as the case may be) that they forget that love comes from so many other places! Today isn't just about whether we are "in love," but rather about whether we are living loving lives. What a huge difference!
Anne Lamott (a popular author who writes spiritual memoirs such as her latest, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers) wrote this on her Facebook page this last week:
"I would estimate that approximately 17% of people enjoy Valentine's day. Mostly, women will be given boxes of chocolates that they don't want and can't resist, and will be really mad at themselves for inhaling. Many people will be filled with resentment, anxiety, and guilt at having forgotten, or having shown up late, or having accidentally been having affairs with other people. Many people will feel a sheet-metal sense of loneliness and rejection. They will be comparing their insides with other people's outsides, especially those happy valentines actors in advertisements and commercials. Most of the day, except for the lucky few, will be a nightmare."
That's a pretty depressing view. And I so hope the number is higher than 17% of people who step into today with joy, contentment, and gratitude. But it illustrates my point that for many, today has the potential to be depressing or disappointing.
Lamott is calling for an Occupy Valentines Day where women focus today on radical self-care instead of looking for external validation. That is certainly in alignment with my friend Christine Arylo, the Queen of Self-Love and author of Madly in Love with ME: The Daring Adventure of Becoming Your Own Best Friend who has declared every Feb. 13 as the International Day of Self-Love. The message that I am so glad is entering our consciousness is the reminder that love has to start with us.
Let's Choose All Love Today!
I invite all of us to decide today that we are going to choose to remember that we are loved. That means recognizing that whether we are in a romantic relationship or not, that we are valuable, worthy, loveable, and amazing. We are no less so, no matter what our relationship status. That means that we're going to pry our little fingers open and let go of any set expectation of what someone has to do for us today to make us feel good. We can choose to feel loved all by ourselves. Yes, we can.
Choosing to celebrate our own worthiness can take on many different forms. Whether it's planning this evening to be filled with the things that bring us personal joy, scheduling some 30 minutes of self-care that we give ourselves, or setting aside time to journal and ground ourselves in what we know is lovingly true about us, we can decide if we want to choose love or fear today.
Choosing love is an inside job.
Proof of that is that we have all been in relationship before and still not felt like we were "enough." A relationship doesn't mean we're in anymore loved or able to receive love any easier. So let's not fall for the delusion that we need someone else before we can feel it.
And then, after accepting our own personal love, let's also commit to reach out to others we love. So for some of us it may include a romantic partner, but for all of us it also includes family members, co-workers, and friends. It means showing up in ways that remind others that they are loved. Let's make sure our very presence invites others to feel good about themselves.
This can include such things as:
- Leaving a voice mail for a girlfriend telling her 5 things we love about her.
- Taking 2 minutes to write an email (or send an e-card) to any of our friends who have recently gone through a break-up or divorce and reminding them,"Just in case you are tempted to doubt your amazing-ness today-- I just wanted to jump in your inbox and tell you how absolutely love-able, wonderful, and beautiful you are. You are so loved and thought of on this Valentines Day!"
- Calling your parents and thanking them for showing you so much love over the years.
- Scheduling an impromptu Valentines happy hour at your apartment after work and inviting anyone you think of or see throughout the day!
- Give hugs everywhere you go. Few of us get too much healthy and loving touch in our lives.
- And commit to just really listen and see people tomorrow. Everyone you encounter in meetings, during sales calls, and in the break room is fighting their own battles-- be sure they know you saw them and valued them.
There is a very real spiritual truth and it is that love goes every direction; meaning that it's impossible for you to give love and have any less of it yourself. As we give, we receive. As we hug, we get hugged. As we smile at others, we feel happier. As we remind others of their inherent worth, we remember our own.
Today, let's be a community of women that loves. May we exude the love we crave. May we be the love this world needs.
With love and hope,
p.s. Want to buy a gift for a girlfriend, sister, or mother? Send a note telling them you just purchased "Friendships Don't Just Happen!" and are having it sent to them as a thank you for how much love they have shown you over the years!
p.s.s. Just went through a recent break-up or feeling bad about being alone this year? My friend, Ellen Smoak of Break-ups are a Bitch has begun a free 1-month Cupid's Roast filled with interviews with all kinds of sex, dating, relationship, and love coaches to help inspire and heal you. (I'll be featured toward the end!)