Having a day to focus on and celebrate love feels like a glorious gift in the middle of winter. And with the especially frigid temperatures (and snow and ice) we’ve had in New England these last months, I feel enormously grateful for the warmth of this powerful emotion in my life now.
But I have long observed that many of us have a narrow concept about love. We often think about it in a very limited way.
We think about romance — and romance is great — but love is so much more than romance. (And, romance requires a partner — and not all of us are partnered.) We think about the external symbols that the commercial culture emphasizes, like flowers and chocolates. And while it can be lovely to receive a thoughtful gift at any time, bouquets and sweets have little to do with the true glory of love.
When I think of love, I think about the magnificent and vast energy that love holds and how we can bring more of that into our lives and our world. Here’s what I mean.
Start with self-love
I always teach my clients that everything good we desire in our lives starts with loving ourselves — and that it’s much easier to create the life we want when we fully love ourselves. In fact, the ability to create in every and any way is bolstered when we practice self-love.
Further, the sabotage of our self-critic can be mollified when we cultivate self-love.
And, we must be filled with love for ourselves before we can truly love others in the fullest possible way.
When you appreciate yourself and your talents and gifts with a full heart, when you feel deserving of every kind of goodness in your life, and when you are able to forgive yourself for inevitable missteps, you are on the self-love path. You will naturally want to take good care of yourself — think good nutrition, ample sleep, exercising in ways that you enjoy, reducing what adds stress to your life, and more. You will feel great about pursuing things that enrich your spirit — think spending time in nature, attending concerts, taking singing lessons, reading great books, or embarking on adventures. This mindful way of living and caring for yourself lovingly will open your heart in magnificent ways and open your creative channels as never before.
With strong self-love in place, the magic of love expands
Truly loving yourself allows you to love others more fully. A natural desire to share the joy in your heart will fill you. Of course it will flow most fully and abundantly to those who are special in your life, and they will likely notice that your ways of engaging lovingly are sweeter than ever. But you are also likely to be surprised at how much more inclined you feel to smile and share kindness with strangers in the course of your day. You may even be able to forgive more easily, with the insight that those for whom you have held hurt feelings are sorely in need of more love in their lives. I predict that you will find yourself spreading love in many new and beautiful ways.
You’ll start to notice a ripple effect
With abundant love in your heart, your expressions of love will be felt by others, in both subtle and obvious ways. Picking up on the magic of loving energy will enhance the happiness of those with whom you interact, and they too will be likely to feel and express more love for those around them. It’s this loving energy that expands and can change the world in amazing ways. I see it often, and I hope you will experience it as well.
So, in this season when love is the central topic of conversation and advertisements and celebrations of many kinds, I ask you: Even as you may be thinking about expressions of love for others, what can you do to love yourself now? What concrete thing can you do to shower yourself with love, and make yourself feel special? (Because, you ARE special!)
And, if you want to make a commitment to yourself to cultivate self-love, why not email me this week to tell me your ideas for self-love this week — be it taking a long soak in a bubble bath, cooking up something special to enjoy with dear friends, going to a matinee to see a film you've heard great things about, or anything else.
And, next week, email me again to let me know what you did, how it went, and what you plan to do in the coming week to keep self-love in flow.
I’m sending you BIG love.