Valentine’s Day…. Revisited.

What does it mean when you say “I love you” on this Valentine’s Day?  To revisit the concept, Ive brought you into a “Valentine’s Day Revisited” conversation.

Does it automatically bring to mind images of candy and flowers, romantic meals and, oh la la, steamy encounters with the person you love (or at least like a lot?)

Me, not so much.  I’m writing this fine Valentine’s Day with my best friend in the entire universe (and twin sister) Donna – she and I have been having a long conversation  about what real love actually is.  Real love, as it turns out, makes every day Valentine’s Day. Real love begins entirely in a very special place….inside you.

Here are the questions that we talked about….D is Donna’s thought, A is for Alison!

What do you think is the most important ‘love’ in the world?

D:  The love that is given freely and unconditional. If your love has to be bought… is it real love?

A: To me, Valentine’s should be a celebration of being grateful! Romance is great – I am married to an amazingly romantic man.  My Valentine’s Day will celebrate those people in my life who are part of me everyday – it is a way to say thank you.

How are you celebrating Valentines Day?

D: I started out giving my husband and son their Valentine cards.  My son also got a box of chocolates (he is a true chocoholic).  I opened my card and chocolates as well. Then a cuddle for both as they headed to work and school.  I will get all my chores done for the day and then I will cook a meal fit for a king  since we don’t tend to eat out very much because we cook better than most restaurants. You just can’t beat down home made from scratch cookin ‘ in my book. Then off to bed and the rest I will leave to your imaginations!!!

A: My day started out with crazy daisies from my husband – I made him a special lunch for work. It snowed today, so he was happy to stay in.  Brian bought flowers for Taryn, who was so excited to be Daddy’s princess!  I made cookies for my fellow grad students – I like to bring them treats! I wrote Brian a letter about how thankful I am to have his friendship, partnership, his trust and his love.  I am truly grateful. I spent a good deal of the morning on Skype with D as we wrote this article together on Google docs. I will use some of those little Valentine’s cards to send people a smile or a thanks – it’s fun and unusual. That is what it is all about – being aware of the many, many people who speak into my life.  The rest of the day, I will work with counseling psych stuff.  I am going to take time out to have a manicure – and make my family a wonderful dinner.

How does loving yourself fit into Valentine’s Day?

D: That is a hard question for me because making others happy is what makes me happiest.   I tend to forget that I need to stop, breathe and just sit and relax and remember that life is good and I am grateful for all that I have.

A:  It’s the most important love of all!  You see, you cannot give away what you do not possess. Everything that you need to be healthy, happy, whole and filled with grace is right here in the life that you are given – it’s all a gift.  I find peace in prayer, in the practice of meditation and other practices in the Kabbalah, and in giving to others. Loving yourself is the most important gift you can receive on Valentine’s or any other day. I meet lots of miserable people both in and out of relationships – the truth is, when you honestly love yourself in a whole, authentic way, it’s hard to be depressed or hurt.  You learn to chose who you are and your unique contribution to the world over questions like “Why does he/she do ____” or “Why am I so lonely.”

What advice would you give to someone struggling with loneliness or relationship issues for Valentine’s Day?

D: Go do something that you have never done before.  Visit a shut in, take a friend  some flowers or chocolates who also isn’t having a great day,  just go get involved in the world and remember that you are not in this alone.  It is called changing your state.  You are the only one who can do this for yourself.  Smile and enjoy the day!!!!

A:  Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!  Yes, I know that I stole that from the Apostle Paul.  It’s my life theme.  I have been lonely, heartbroken and sad on Valentine’s.  I wish that I could go back in time and grab myself by the shoulders, look myself right in the eye and say “you are a beautiful, unique creature, a designer’s original.  There is not another you….love yourself!”  I can’t do that, but I can say it to each of you.  Make a list of all the things and people that you’re grateful for – and then go tell them! You see, if you spend your day giving love, at the break of dawn tomorrow, you’re going to still have the love you have received with you.  Chocolates, dinners and even amazing sex really fade in the lamplight. How often do you take this day to tell your children why you like and respect them – not just because you’re their parent? How often do you compliment your Mom/Dad, siblings, friends with words like – “I am so grateful for you in my life.  You make everyday so worthwhile to me because I know that you’re part of it.  Thank you.”  Rejoice, and again I say rejoice.  This is your day – be happy .  You love you!

How do you beat the “sad day blues?”

D: Go out and just smile at everybody you meet.  You will be surprised at what type of reaction you get in return.  You just might make someones day. Then indulge yourself with whatever makes you smile.

A:  In all things self care and self love are important! Find a great balance of taking care of you, and giving to others. I love movies, fingernail polish, bubble baths, reading, talking to my sis and laughing when I am sad.  I am also big on talking to Brian as we enjoy the fireplace.  I the summer, I love to get outdoors and do something unique and different, daring and exhilarating.  I also find a lot of value in being a blessing for other people every day of my life … it keeps the blues away.  Still, they happen.  When I am blue, I tend to focus on quality me time, enjoying quiet – and deliberately being grateful.  I love my life.  It’s not perfect – I live it in honest, loving kindness toward others and a whole lot of fun dancing to my own unique beat.

Self-loving people know that they often make mistakes.
Since they live their lives for the joy they can find,
they do a lot of experimenting and try many new things.
Since they aren’t dumb (or self-destructive),
these experiments work out well most of the time
– but sometimes they do go wrong.
When this happens, self-loving people are not surprised!
They simply apologize if necessary,
fix anything that can be fixed,
and move on…..
Self-loving people are responsible, not guilty.
Self-loving people don’t make many excuses
especially to themselves.
From ~ Self Therapy, Self Love

Closing thoughts?

D: Remember you can’t change your life if you stay hidden  and refuse to allow anyone to enter your world.  You have to get out there and get involved.  No one can make you happy until you make yourself happy.  I firmly believe that people are attracted to happy people because they want to experience it themselves.  So stop being the stalker of happiness and be the attractor of happiness.

A:  Happy Valentine’s!  Experience the day in child like wonder! Get up, get out and smile.  Chose to make this a great day…not because it’s a commercial holiday, but because you love the life that you’ve been given.  Concentrate on you inner dialogue – are you being hard, critical, negative or depressed? You can chose what you think.  It’s tough sometimes, but you can.  Change your state or amplify that happiness you feel! Write a little note that cheers a coworker, offer a stranger a smile, send love out into the universe.  Love is the only thing that you take with you from this life to the next – not diamonds or gold, not treasures of gain – not even romantic love.  The love you take with you is that which is freely given away in authentic grace, infinite gratitude and honor. Make today count!

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