Valentine’s Day can bring up a host of feelings: for some, it is a joyous celebration, and for others, it can bring up feelings of loneliness and even pressure; for some it can be a day of abundance and love, and for others, it can produce feelings of sadness or disappointment.
ALL of these feelings are valid. But how do we look inward and not let the idea of a holiday affect and control our emotions?
When we practice TRUE love, we begin to meet whatever is here in this present moment just as it is—with open arms, with kindness. Thich Nhat Hann teaches that sometimes we use the word “love” in place of craving or desire. This is not the type of love that creates actual happiness and wellbeing. We all wish for the healing power of true love…a type of love that comes from connection with out heart, rather than believing it comes from outside of ourselves. So how do we begin to let go of our thinking mind’s notion of what love is, and listen to the true love within our hearts? How can we let go? For starters, pay attention to what your idea of love is stirring within you. Is it creating a sense of wholeness or a sense of craving? A sense of expansiveness or a sense of contraction? Do you feel dependent on the object to feel this way? Is there a sense of true connection or does it enhance a feeling of separateness from the world around you? Remember, if it’s true love, the external simply waters the love that is ALWAYS present within us. When you can connect to the idea of true love, it helps you realize that days like Valentine’s Day are a reminder that every one should be celebrating what is already within themselves.
So what’s a helpful trick so we can we all get a taste of true love on Valentine’s Day?
Try this Self-Compassion exercise:
- Bring to mind a person or an animal for whom it is easy to be happy for
- Soften the body and place your hands on your heart. Let the image or knowing of their wellbeing sink into your body on each breath. Allow yourself to experience their happiness.
- Send phrases of loving kindness to them wishing them peace, love, feelings of wellbeing and happiness.
- Feel it in your body and repeat.