For the first time in 21 years, I will be spending this Valentine's Day alone. Although my ex-husband and I rarely made a big deal out of this "Hallmark holiday," I find myself getting resentful at the hearts and flowers filling the aisles of my local grocery store. It's as if Hallmark is trying to stick it to me and remind me that I'm single on this couple-centric holiday.
Fortunately, I have a plan. My theme for the year is Love -- self-love to be exact. So I will spend my week touting the virtues of taking care of you and treating yourself with love, honor, and respect to anyone who will listen -- single or coupled.
You see, I've come to realize over the past six months that Love is our God(dess)-given right. We are born in a state of Love and we will leave in a state of Love. What happens in between is entirely up to us. But know this: You cannot truly love another or receive love from another if you don't love yourself.
It took me 40 years to realize the powerfulness of that truth. I had become so accustomed to shutting my heart down for fear of getting hurt that I had walled myself off from truly loving -- myself or anyone else -- or receiving love. As a result, I was achingly lonely in the midst of my family and friends.
But it was my own fault. I made the decision long ago that love hurts. Thus, to avoid pain, you should avoid love. But that is no way to live your life -- much less grow your relationships with family and friends.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson once wrote:
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Yes, but, I also think it is better to have learned to love you. Christine Arylo puts it best when she says:
Where there is love, there is nothing to fear. People may misunderstand, but that is their business. As long as you are aligned with love, you can create no harm. Step forward from here knowing that choosing to love yourself -- in all the ways that will come to light -- can only be a good thing. For when you act from love, everything in your life aligns just right.
Does that mean you'll never again experience the sorrow of a lost love? No, but at least when you "lose" the love of someone else, you'll always have yourself to count on. You to cherish, love, and take care of -- however you see fit.
I challenge you to do this: Spend some time each day taking care of you, showing yourself love and appreciation for all you do. That is, do something that makes your soul sing -- something just for you. Don't take the kids with you. Don't invite your significant other. This is YOU time. If that seems daunting, start with 5 minutes a day. Then 10, then 20, then 30. You get the idea.
If you have no idea where to start or how to take care of yourself, ask your inner wisdom. Start with one (or all) of these prompts:
1) What am I grateful for today?
2) What do I need to do for me today?
3) How can I show myself love today?
4) What do I look forward to today? What can I do that will make me happy?
Then listen in and see what your inner wisdom wants to share with you. Then go do it. Right now. Because we both know that if you put it off it will never happen...
So what am I doing for myself this Valentine's Day? While most of my single friends will be wearing black in protest, I'll be decked out in red. Because I am celebrating me. Appreciating me. And I'll be doing whatever my inner wisdom tells me it needs that day to show myself Love.
Happy Self-Love and Appreciation Day!