Here's a little departure from the typical spoils of Valentines Day with its foil-clad chocolates and bouquets of flowers. Let's go deeper than the eighteen-billion dollar commercialization of the heart. This one won't cost you a thing, but it is priceless. It is where real love starts.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Yeah, you know this one already. At least the obvious part. But this age-old directive isn't as simple as it sounds. Tune in. Dissect it.
Most every major religion adheres to some form of this tenet. It's in the Jewish Torah, the Buddhist philosophy, and it's number two on Jesus' list of Christianity's most important commandments. It's the kind of love that's pertinent not only on this commercialized day of amour, but every day of our lives.
Love your neighbor. As you love yourself.
Folks, this is not just about loving others, though that's certainly at the heart of it. It's also a clear directive to love yourself. And it's not a mere suggestion. It's a command and a darned good one. It all starts here.
Whether you're setting off to spend the day with someone else or you'll be skipping Cupid and going solo, reconnect with your first love. You. This means loving yourself. Actively. Completely. It means be a good date... for you. Pay yourself a compliment. Make yourself a lovely meal. Play music that makes your soul sing. Listen to yourself. Hear what's hard and what's good and what you dream of and long for. Get back in touch. Really listen. Forgive yourself. Cheer for yourself. Care for and speak to yourself the way you would your child, with gentleness and tenderness.
Be everything that you hope and dream someone will be for you. This is loving yourself.
When we love ourselves, how much more practiced and capable will we be to love others, to show them the same kindness and compassion? We can't help but be better lovers of one another when we know how to love ourselves.
Happy Valentines Day to you and your most essential date, the one who will never break up with you or leave you, though she will invariably disappoint you and on occasion be hard on you. She'll also wow and astound you and, at times, surprise you. She isn't perfect, but she's yours. So love her. Every day. And maybe with a little extra gusto today.
(Like what you've read? Share it with someone else who might, too. Reaching hearts is what this is all about and the world could certainly use a little more love.)