With Valentine’s Day upon us, I have been thinking a lot about love. Who hasn’t? Decorations have been everywhere in every retail shop since the December holiday season!
Come to think of it, though…I have been reevaluating my perspective on love for quite some time. (You know how you start to review everything you thought you knew, as you grow older…?) 🤔
When I was much younger, I had all types of illusions of what love was…what it looked like and how it should feel. My fantasies were not based on fairy tales or movies. I was the daughter of an incredibly patient and tender-hearted father. And as little girls do, I fashioned my ideas about love from remnants of my relationship with him. Although my father was far from perfect, I still unconsciously expected love, romantic and otherwise, to be patterned after a similar model.
As I grew up, I put away childish notions. Experience was my teacher, harsh at times but good. I learned to choose carefully what I wanted love to be like for me. In my friendships, I want honesty and acceptance. I want trustworthiness. I don’t long for a “best friend” as I did as a child. I need the freedom to know I can pick up the phone, dial an old friend, and it would be as if no time has passed between us.
And in my romantic relationship, I don’t expect a storybook hero. I believe that the fantasy of love (flowers, etc.) does have its moments but its true reality is found in quiet resolve and constancy, in commitment and the liberty to be myself.
I’ve also come to realize that somewhere in everyone's love journeys, regardless of the love framework in their minds, they have encountered moments where love was not the motivating factor in a relationship; instead, it was fear. Fear of losing a friend or mate. Fear of being alone. Fear of the opinions of others. Fear of not being enough.
It is said that there are only two primary motivating emotions from which all others flow. They are Love and Fear.
Think about Fear for a moment.
What does it feel like? How does it show up in your life, in your relationships? Does it come as anxiety, apprehension, or even control? (Control is almost always fear based.) Fear has a way of choking the life out of possibility in our lives. It uses familiar patterns to imprison. How many times have you not taken a risk due to fear disguised as practicality?
Good news! Love is greater than Fear.
Love > Fear. That realization does something inside. It shifts the perspective and moves fear out of focus.
How do I choose Love as my focus?
I’m glad you asked! Begin with the love of self. When I have been caring well for myself by getting proper rest, eating right, and keeping my heart and mind free of negativity, I can access and activate love freely. I am more open and authentic in my closest relationships. I am more confident and daring. I become comfortable with vulnerability. I am at peace doing what I love.
Peace is not obtained through activity. It is not dependent on the external. (When I earn X, then I'll be at peace. Wrong.) It is gained by being still on the inside. Allowing for mind-wandering time and boredom, even. Practically, it could mean a few minutes a day to take a couple of deep breaths. To reflect on the happenings of the day and how you feel about them. To write in a journal, if that’s your thing.
If I was honest with myself a couple of years ago, when I began my business, I would’ve seen that my busyness was in fact, a symptom of the fear disorder, "missoutphobia" (pronounced, mis-out-fo-bee-a). I thought I’d overlook something if I didn’t do it all, right then. I was frantic to be sure to dot and cross the appropriate “i’s” and “t’s,” respectively. You may be familiar with this ailment from personal experience. 😉 When I slowed down to limit my focus on the most important, what I loved, I experienced exponential progress. (I wrote about that journey here.)
Love is a force to be reckoned with. It has the power to disarm fear in an understated and gentle manner. Like a ninja, it swoops in discreetly and rescues its target, the heart. The heart is like a compass. Thus, where my heart is directed, there I am. I want my heart to be set on things that foster good growth and yield healthy fruit.
This Valentine’s Day, choose you to be your own "Valentine." Take some time to love on yourself and do what you love. Appreciate the wonderful gift you are to those who are privileged to be in relationship with you. Recognize that even in your inactivity, you are accomplishing a great deal. Finally, choose to allow Love to lead you.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Until next time…