Do you remember Valentine's Day growing up? I do. I remember all the angst of swapping heart-shaped candies and sappy cards with my peers in class. It was a ritual at my elementary and middle-school for all the kids to exchange candies and cards. You do remember those heart-shaped candies that taste like chalk with stamped sayings on them like 'be mine' right?
How traumatizing it was to exchange candies that said things like 'let's cuddle' or 'hottie.' And then trying to find that perfect one to share with the girl who I actually did have a crush on... sheepishly handing her the one that said 'let's kiss.'
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Of course, there was always one person who didn't get any candy exchanges, and feeling bad for him, I'd quickly trying to come up with a candy and card to give him. And the best I could do was a candy that said 'best friends forever.'
It was all stamped in adolescent insecurity and uncertainty. It always left me feeling bad somehow, like how I might feel if I ate a whole bag of those heart-shaped candies.
I feel like Valentine's Day has remained that way in our culture. It's stamped with those same adolescent urges and immature desires.
Isn't Valentine's Day really a holiday to celebrate love? It's like Thanksgiving. At Thanksgiving, we give thanks for what we have. Perhaps on Valentine's Day, what we could do is give love to the people in our life who we love.
Let's make Valentine's Day into a holiday to celebrate love in our life.
I propose 4 Steps to make Valentine's Day a Holiday of True Love. Let's help the holiday grow up to become a mature adult version of itself.
1. Bring our awareness to our heart. Let's take the opportunity to simply be aware of our heart-space, that big space at the center of our chest. And let's practice taking heart-opening breaths. For those of you who know Yoga, you'll know what I mean. Simply arch your back open and lift up your rib cage as if someone is pulling your heart up with a string. And breathe.
2. Speak out the love. With your awareness on your heart, breathing into your heart, say out loud the words, "I love you." Easy right? Wrong. It's amazing how difficult it is for people to say "I love you" even when no-one is listening. Practice saying it outloud. Use different funny voices if you want. Say it like Christopher Walken. Just say it. Get it out of your mouth.
3. Tell your friends and family how much they mean to you. This can mean simply telling them you love them. That works. Call or write and tell them you love them. Good. Done. It isn't rocket science. It doesn't have to be dramatic. The action speaks volumes.
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4. Forgive anyone you need to forgive in step 3. This might be a little harder. Keep in mind what the word forgive means. It means to give first, like pre-giving. It's not post-giving, after the fact. It's pre-giving. So, it means something like giving way at a stop sign. You give way first. You let go first. You give them love before they have given you love.
And, if you can do step 4, then you are on your way to being a Valentine's Day Champion.