Today is Valentine’s Day. If you are in a relationship it is quite likely a day of celebration which is filled with flowers, candy and cards. If you are single, it is often viewed upon as the dreaded day of love, where you are once again reminded that you don’t have any. Some people view it as a day of class warfare, it is a day divided by the have’s and the have-nots. “It is a day created by Hallmark to sell more cards” etc., is a fairly popular explanation touted by men who feel like they are forced to celebrate Valentine’s Day when they are in a relationship, and who are most likely stressed out of their minds, trying to figure out what an appropriate gift might be, and whether it will be well received.
Contrary to the popular myth that Valentine’s Day was created by Hallmark, it appears to have begun around 496 BC, and has gradually morphed into the obligatory day of love and celebration, which is now both revered and dreaded on a global scale, by those who have it and those who don’t. Since those who have it are most likely to be in the groove this morning, I’ve decided to direct my attention to my friends and family who started out their day by listening to the Love Stinks radio station on Pandora… true story, this blog article is inspired by the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth of my experience. However my friends who are currently in a relationship will benefit equally from reading this article…
My Dear Friend (you know who you are), you might not be in a committed, ongoing, sustainable, or just plain friends with benefits type of relationship at this moment, but you are loved. Not only are you loved now, but you have been loved for all of your life, by many people, in many ways. Stop smirking, I already know the smart ass comment that is about to roll out of your mouth, I’m trying to be inspiring! Just trust me and do this exercise:
Take a moment to close your eyes for a few moments and breathe deeply through your nose and out your mouth for several breaths. I know that it’s going to make you “feel all gay” but do it anyway. By the way, that’s silly gay, not gay, “gay” as my gay friends like to remind me. Oh my God, just shut up, and do it all ready! You’re going to feel better about a lot of things after this, not just about love, relationships and all that stuff! All right, back to business…
Place your right hand over your heart and find your heartbeat.* Keep your hand over your heart so that you can feel your heartbeat and in a moment, close your eyes and just focus on your heartbeat. Just enjoy the feeling of your heartbeat as it taps away beneath the pressure of your finger tips and allow yourself to relax; as you do, think about all the times that you have felt loved in your life, beginning with the time you were a baby inside of your mother’s womb, safely floating around in weightless space… think about all of the people who have loved you from that moment you were born; parents; adoptive parents; brothers; sisters; grandparents; aunt’s; uncles; cousins; extended family; godparents; teachers; childhood friends; people who you’ve had relationships with throughout your life, regardless of whether they worked out our not; they serve to validate the fact that you have been loved at various times throughout your life and that you are lovable.
Now open your eyes and try to figure out how you just read all of the previous instruction with them closed… By the way, if you happen to be in a relationship with somebody, this is an excellent exercise to do together because it will strengthen the bond between you. Simply extend your left hand to the heartbeat of the other person after you have become in-sync with your own mind and heart using the relaxation technique outlined above, and feel the heartbeat of each other, along with your own for several minutes. This exercise has shown that the energy of our hearts and minds actually align and sync-up when this exercise is done properly. It is an exceptional way to create a lasting sense of calm at any time we find ourselves stressed. It’s not just for Valentine’s Day.
One of the strongest of our six basic human needs is Love and Connection; the desire to love, to be loved, and to interact with people throughout our lives. Our desire to fulfill this need is most likely so strong because, even as babies, we instinctively realize that we will quickly die without love and attention. This is why babies cry when they are set down and left alone, it is to ensure that somebody will pay attention to their needs so that they survive.
As we age from infants into adults, our need for love and connection grows with us and quite often defines many of our actions and behaviors. We all need to love and be loved. The good news is that we are, regardless of whether we are presently in a relationship or not. Our need for love and connection can be fulfilled in positive and negative ways; by enjoying a lasting and loving relationship, or through a series of casual hook-ups and one night stands. It can be fulfilled through strong family connections, or by hanging out and talking with good friends. It can be strengthened through good connections made at work, by chatting with people who share a common interest, or even by sharing a smile with a stranger while passing in the aisle of the grocery store. Our need for love and connection can be fulfilled quite well by sharing your life with a pet, especially one which loves to be pet and which has a playful personality, such as a cat or a dog.
The degree to which our need for love and connection must be fulfilled depends greatly upon the structure of our belief system and our life experience. Regardless of whether you find yourself in a traditional relationship or not this Valentine’s Day, I hope that this insight into the human need for love and connection helps you to realize that you are loved. This is not a day which is divided into categories of people who Have and those who Have Not, because we all have love; can choose to enjoy love; and can choose to make other people feel loved; by simply realizing that all of the love which we need in our lives is already present within us and has been with us, since the day we were conceived.
If you enjoyed this article, please do me a favor and spread a little sunshine today… Share a smile with every person you encounter, because there are a lot of people who don’t feel loved today and they deserve to be reminded that they are loved, they are loveable, and they are now, and have always been loved. Thank you.
* This comment is inspired by a picture currently circulating around the internet which shows President Obama and his wife, standing for the national anthem while holding their left hands over their chest, which was introduced to me this morning by the very friend who inspired this article. Of course I realize that the picture was altered in a Adobe Photoshop, it was entertaining just the same.