Valentine’s Day and it’s origins are described in several legends. Although they’re all different, they have one thing in common: a focus on love. Not romantic love, but love for others, expressed through acts of generosity, kindness or selflessness.
Be loving on Valentine’s Day
This Valentine’s Day, my invitation to you is to express your loving in this way, so whether you’re in love or not, you can still enjoy focusing on love. I don’t mean just towards your partner but also towards everyone else – even your boss, the person at the supermarket checkout and your infuriating sibling.
People don’t need to know you’re being loving and if the idea of loving some people feels impossible to you, try focusing on being generous, kind or compassionate.
Imagine the impact…
If, for instance, instead of being impatient with a grumpy taxi driver you smiled and thanked him for getting you to work; or, instead of shouting at your children for delaying you, you spent more time listening to them. Imagine the impact it would have to focus on building relationships rather than venting frustration.
It might feel particularly difficult “loving” someone whose actions you believe are wrong and with whom you feel frustrated, angry or resentful. You can, of course, choose to continue holding on to those negative feelings – they are yours, after all. However, as Buddha said: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” When you get stuck in a negative feeling, you are unlikely to be hurting anyone as much as yourself. Focusing on loving the person you are angry with instead is far less painful, although often initially it can feel more difficult.
Would you rather be angry or loving?
Many of my clients come to me with a desire for us to focus on changing their partner’s behaviour, before they are willing to feel any compassion or kindness towards them. They get stuck in the painful feelings of blame and resentment and imagine that the other person is responsible for those feelings. Can you see how that is a powerless place to get stuck? What if the other person can’t or won’t change?
If you ever find yourself in that position (with a partner or anyone else), try doing the opposite and focus on acceptance, forgiveness and compassion (and loving) and see how your feelings and even the outcome can change.
Expressing loving through acts of kindness can make a tremendous difference to an individual and a relationship – even something as simple as a smile or a compliment. Generosity too, as a way of focusing on love, could be a small gesture like buying a coffee for a colleague instead of holding a grudge against them after a disagreement.
Learning to love yourself can change your life
Do notice when you are far from feeling loving towards yourself as well. Often we are our own harshest judges. Try speaking to yourself with the same kindness you would speak to a small child or your closest friend when they have made a mistake, or give yourself some appreciation for your successes rather than focusing on a failure.
Being loving is a far more comfortable and rewarding way of living and interacting. This February, whether or not you have your own Valentine, try showing some love to everyone you meet – starting with the person in the mirror. You’ll notice not only how much better it feels on the inside but also the impact it has on the outside.
If you would like to read more Relationship Advice articles, you can find further reading in my Relationship Advice section. Alternatively, if you’d like to book an appointment to discuss building a relationship further, or dealing with a Relationship in Crisis please call me on 0800 612 8416, or contact me here.