It’s hard not to love a holiday dedicated to the idea of Love… and I do.
Usually I reserve the first Monday of the month for “Music Monday” where I select a song from which I take inspiration. But this week, I couldn’t resist referencing two songs that truly capture what I want to express. The first is appropriately called, Valentine, by the young, new artist, Kina Grannis. It should do the trick to get you in the mood to spin around the kitchen this Wednesday dancing and celebrating your love with your sweetheart.
The second song, And Then You Love Someone, by Ben Rector takes on our own level of responsibility in loving others. Likely a truer, longer lasting idea.
“Love, you learn to love, to feel the words you hate to hear,
Just shut your mouth and then the truth comes stinging clear,
You find you’re wrong and it’s your problems all along,
And then you love someone.
And not ’til then, you love someone.
It took love to finally see the pointed fingers back at me,
A silent mouth, a broken heart, a sword retired.”
Every year when my boys were young, I used to do Valentine’s Day up right for them. I set the breakfast and dinner table on Valentine’s Day in red, white, and pink. I added flowers, used my china, lit the candles, and put little sweet cards, candies, and surprises all around. I serenaded them with famous love songs playing in the background. I cooked pink oatmeal and packed red jello in their lunch boxes along with little secret valentines. The cu de gras one year was when I made red velvet waffles that sent them out the door to school with big smiles filled with slightly pink stained teeth. I might have gone just a bit overboard and decided it was best not to tell them.
I’d love to tell you that they adored this tradition and still carry on with it to this day but… in reality, all they seem to remember now is how much they loved the candy in their valentine bags and, what they now refer to as the sentimental weirdness of their mother. I really probably should have had girls.
I still do the same thing now, though thankfully my sweet and hunky Valentine these days is much more receptive to my sentimentality. As I was selecting just the right card for him yesterday, I noticed cards for just about every kind of love imaginable: Parents, step-parents, young children, grown children, friends, and yes… even colleagues.
If we’re lucky, love takes lots of forms in our lives. And nothing we could ever earn, purchase, win, or create is more fulfilling than the certainty and sureness of love. So, if it makes all the rest so much better, how do we get more of it in our lives?
I believe we get more love when we love more without conditions or expectations. You have clients, patients, co-workers, family members, and friends who will be nurtured, calmed, and healed by the receiving of love. Try it. The next time someone flips you off on the freeway, try sending them some love. When a clerk is grumpy while attending to you at the store, send them some love. When a patient is complaining on the phone, yep… love it is. Think of it as the Greek god, Cupid, shooting his arrow straight at them. That should make you both feel better!
Every time I do this internally, I soften and respond differently, and the events usually take a turn for the better. If nothing else, I feel better. This doesn’t mean you take abuse or ignore bad behavior, but it does mean that before you respond you “see” the person within the person who seeks acceptance, attention, and love… and that’s the one you speak to. Almost nothing wrong comes when we speak from a place of love. It’s a pretty safe bet.
If we stop taking stock of where love doesn’t exist in the world and focus on what we are doing in big and small ways to love and show kindness to others, we are actually the ones who benefit the most. No doubt about it. It will fill you up.
While I love the simplicity of the Kina Grannis song to help us all celebrate Valentine’s Day, the words written by Ben Rector always remind me that often when I’m upset, frustrated, or even angry at someone… when I “shut my mouth” and focus my attention on the real reasons for my reaction, I often find “fingers pointing back at me” and that “the problems were mine all along.” Owning the piece of it which is mine helps to pull me out of the role of victim and ease me back into that place of powerful love and understanding.
So, try making this a month or even a year of Valentine’s Days. Shoot those arrows into the hearts of those around you. Let them feel your reservoir of love is bigger, deeper, and stronger than yesterday, even if theirs has all but dried up. Remember that people are most attracted to those who seem delighted about life and happy in their own skin; people who love their lives, with all their imperfections, and who show love for others. It is the best anti-aging potion you’ll ever apply. It’s the most powerfully healing prescription for what ails you. It’s the strongest magnet that attracts more and more and more of it into your own life.
Oh, how I love you, my sweet Valentines! Let me count the ways.
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”