This year, Valentine’s Day is estimated to gross nearly $17 billion. That’s a lot of cards, candy, flowers, stuffed animals, lingerie, dinner, wine and champagne buying and weekends away. Many of us – particularly we women – go all out for Valentine’s Day and have clear desires and high expectations for gifts, favors and loving attention we hope will come our way. We are invested in the idea of love – true or not.
To celebrate love and honor our tender hearts primarily, one a day a year is not enough. It creates the illusion that love is scarce and perpetuates the story that a certain kind of love – romantic love – is better, more desirable, than other kinds of love.
What if instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day only on February 14th, we choose to live as if every day is Love’s Day and Love Everywhere…as if Love is all around us? What if every day, you showered yourself with the quality of love, respect, kindness and attention you want from your beloved? Or what if you randomly extended that quality of kindness to another person in your world? What would that mean to you? What would that look like in your life?
In my life, it would mean that I would spend some time alone with myself – my deeper inner self – every day. I would listen to her ideas and desires and respect her judgment and guidance. I would get to bed earlier and begin winding down, relaxing and calling my scattered, busy energy back to my body, all in preparation for a night of restorative, peaceful rest. I would eat only foods that make me feel good – energized, light and clean. I would speak kindly to my self, both out loud and in my head.
I would carry thoughts about others that support the best parts of them and encourage them to embody their strength and talents. I would say, “Thank you,” more often and make eye contact when I do. I would smile in acknowledgment at people whose gaze meets mine instead of looking away when our eyes meet. I might hold open a door or two out of courtesy or let the person fidgeting impatiently behind me in line at the grocery store step ahead. Love can be as simple as a small act that lightens the load of one who seems burdened. I would give the person or people I’m with my full attention while we’re together. And, I would practice listening deeply to what others are saying, and make them the focus of the conversation, especially when they’re sharing their tender thoughts, vulnerabilities and concerns. I would ask for a listener when I need one, too. Listening and being listened to is so important.
Above all, daily, I would work on releasing the LIES in my life and give myself the freedom to live and lead with a spirit of purpose – a sense of mission and calling. This is a way to fall in love with your inner self, find love everywhere and extend the experience to others.