There was a time in my life when I celebrated Feb. 14 as a day of love and romance, and if I was in a relationship, I’d get angry if I wasn’t treated special. I wanted candy and flowers, because I thought those things were a sign of how much I was loved.
I still like these tokens, however, I now understand that they do not necessarily signify love. Sometimes, these gifts are “duty” gifts, and they’re given because it’s Valentines day. Most men have learned the price they must pay if they ignore their sweetheart on this special day. I think it’s great to set aside a day to pay homage to those we love and to celebrate relationships. However, it would be greater if these things were celebrated every day.
I’m not against holidays, or special days. I just think it’s too easy to get caught up in that one day, and ignore the cry of the soul within each of us, which is to be loved and honored no matter which day it is. I want to know that my partner and I are each others valentine every day. I want my relationship to be filled with love and kindness on an ongoing basis, and to always be respected, and truly cared for.
I believe most of us would like to have that kind of relationship, and we can. However, the catch to having this type of love in our life is: knowing that we’re worthy of that level of love and attention. We have to love ourselves as deeply and fully as we want to be loved by others.
When I say love yourself, I mean your Self. It’s much more than loving how you look and how cool your clothes and your car and job are. It’s more than how much money you make and how much stuff you have. It’s about true respect and compassion for the total you, while embracing Self and allowing change and expansion to happen.
I feel sad when I see those who are in relationship with partners who do not treat them with honor. I watch couples tune each other out, fight over who knows the most, quibble over inane stuff, poke fun at each other, not allow the other to appropriately and honestly express whatever they’re feeling, and put each other down. I see these behaviors and wonder to myself, if it hurts me this much to watch this, how hurt must they be, considering they are sharing space with each other.
Why does this happen? I believe it is because we can’t give to another what we won’t give to self. When we can honestly honor and respect our Self, we can then give that to others who are in our life, and we can receive it. When I take care of myself and really nurture and caress my being, I am able to be caressed by others and to treat them with the same level of thought and care.
If I deny my feelings and do not allow myself to cry, and/or to experience my sadness, chances are I will not allow my partner to have these gifts either. If I push myself towards perfectionism, and do not give myself space to fail or to feel my inadequacy, chances are I will not be able to accept anything less than perfection in my partner.
If I am skimpy with myself, I probably will be skimpy with my partner. I don’t mean just skimpy with money, I also mean skimpy with praise, love, understanding, and acceptance.
If I am not willing to stand in the light and see my shadow side, I will more than likely get angry if my partner mirrors my hidden traits to me. If I won’t give that insight to myself, I will not accept it from others. In fact, I will probably make those people wrong and deflect what I don’t want to see back on them.
If I give up my power and my voice and fail to speak up for myself, I will resent the person I give it up to. Partners who do not ask for what they want, and who give away their power to make decisions for themselves, will be angry at the one who accepts the generous gift of their power.
We can’t keep blaming others for what does not work in our own life. If we are not in a loving, respectful and caring relationship, we have to take responsibility for being where we are. If we’re not being respected, we must ask, “Do I honestly respect myself?” If we’re not being loved unconditionally we need to question, “Do I love myself unconditionally, or do I make myself wrong, dislike myself, feel a need to prove myself, and put myself down?”
In order to have what we want, we have to be willing to turn the light on, stand in the middle of it, and clearly see how we feel about and treat our self. As long as we continue to look outside of self, and blame others for what does not work in our life, we will continue to not have the kind of relationship we long for and we deserve.
The way you love yourself is the way others will love you.Be your own valentine first, and watch what shows up in your life.