By Eve Hogan for Spirituality & Health Magazine
Valentine's Day is upon us: A special season marked by traditions and time with loved ones. This is an especially beautiful time of year for doing some self-reflection and re-dedicating ourselves to our relationships as the seasons change.
When considering where we are in our relationships, and how we'd like them to grow and deepen, we have a huge choice to make: Whether to honor fear or faith. I like to say that “fear” stands for “Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real.” It’s important to remember that fear only exists when we contemplate the future, and that what you fear isn’t actually happening to you now -- if it were, you wouldn’t be afraid anymore, you would be angry or sad or accepting. So if fear is stopping you from something -- whether it be trusting someone, forgiving someone, allowing yourself to be vulnerable or even beginning a new relationship -- realize that you are allowing your imagination to trip you up.
If fear is stopping you from doing what it takes to love, you have some choices to make:
- Are you going to honor fear or love?
- Are you going to honor despair or hope?
- Are you going to honor doubt or faith?
- Are you going to honor stagnancy or growth?
- Are you going to honor unhappiness or joy?
- Are you going to honor deception or honesty?
- Are you going to honor anger or compassion?
- Are you going to honor resistance or acceptance?
- Are you going to honor ego or spirit?
- Are you going to honor complacency or commitment?
- Are you going to honor resentment or forgiveness?
- Are you going to honor your relationships as a spiritual journey?
- Are you going to honor your authentic self?
The choice is yours.
Ego in the form of fear is the number-one thing that stops us from opening our hearts fully to another human being. Fear is what makes us afraid of change instead of excited about it. If you choose to honor fear, remember that fear will stay with you. It will stay in your life whether your partner does or not. It will stay in your life whether money does or not. If you want success, if you want to shake the fear loose, you have to take some risks: The risk to love completely, the risk to forgive and to ask for forgiveness, the risk to accept your partner as he or she is, the risk to tell the truth, the risk to do the work. Make a conscious choice to honor that which is hiding behind your fear: Love, faith, calm, peace!
Once you make the choice, you will benefit from some skills. Generally, we are extremely unpracticed and unskilled at bringing our attention back to the present moment. I invite you to utilize what I call “The Five Essential Life Skills”:
1. Remember who your really are.
3. Let go of that which you aren’t.
4. Realign with your authentic self.
5. Choose your words, thoughts and actions in alignment with your goals.
In this case, be self-observant and notice when you are thinking about the past or the future and take a deep breath and bring your attention to the present moment. This is where peace exists. The present is where calm exists. The present is where acceptance exists. The present is where creativity and intuition exist. Compassion and forgiveness live in the present moment.
This Valentine's Day, offer your family or loved ones your undivided attention. Be present. Stress, fear, hurt, anger and their related emotions are all forms of the ego and they not only block our ability to love and be loved, but also our ability to resolve problems, and think and feel clearly. When we are truly able to be present, the world of possibility opens to us. We are able to stay calm in the face of challenges. We become more creative problem solvers. Our loved ones feel our love more fully.
Don’t just believe me: try it. Even if just for one moment. You can always have fear and stress back if you decide you prefer it. But if for just one moment you can be present, you may choose the same for another moment. Then you will be well on your way to internal and eternal peace.
For more on love, click here.