“For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Let me begin by saying, I am not someone who completely dismisses Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate love. What a wonderful thing to celebrate. Often we do become far too engrossed in our everyday lives that we forget to hit pause and do something out of the ordinary for those we love. Such a pause is nary a bad thing.
And as someone who savors the anticipation prior to a special occasion, a meeting with someone we most look forward to seeing, or any event that we cannot wait to experience, seeing Valentine’s Day just down the road transports me back to my childhood in elementary school when cards would be exchanged in class with each student, and the image of our Valentine’s boxes full of red, pink and white envelopes, candy and simple notes was a the day’s decor.
Perhaps the excitement for Valentine’s Day’s arrival now that I am an adult needs to be let go, and since I have always shared with my students (as this particular date on the calendar tends to be more emotional than others for students in high school, good and heart-breaking) the perspective of Valentine’s Day being a day with a post-it placed upon it reminding us to do something we should do on the other 364 days throughout the year, I am cognizant that one day does not a relationship make.
However, why not take a look at what we most look forward to on February 14th and identify how we might be able to bring that same energy, thoughtfulness and excitement into our everyday lives and relationships throughout the year.
“Real love ought to be more like a tree and less like a flower.” ― Mya Robarts
In particular, the quote above notes a perspective on love to consider. After all, if the love we wish to build and cultivate is analogous to a flower, it won’t last long, however beautiful evanescently. Contrarily, if the love is synonymous with a tree, consider the giant sequoias for a moment. With the longest living sequoias documented to have lived 3,500 years (the average is 2000), it is their ability to endure and thrive for century upon century that holds our answer. Able to gain moisture from not only their roots but the tips at the top from the maritime fog in northern California, they are nourished doubly, continually and therefore thrive. Why not approach love in much the same way?
Why not express your love, grow ever more loving and be the love that your partner needs as well as discover the love you seek as well each day of the year? It may sound exhausting initially, but when we look at the little things we can do each day, the habits we can incorporate into our lives with those we love, this daily approach becomes quite possible indeed. And worthwhile, absolutely. After all, IG we accept the first quote mentioned at the top of the post, exhaustion is impossible if true love is involved. Let’s take a look at seven ways to incorporate celebrating love every day of the year.
1. Invest in intimacy with yourself
“You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.”– Yogi Bhajan
In other words, dive deep into who you are. Get to know yourself, understand yourself and revel in the amazing person that you have the potential to be and are becoming. Don’t run from it, don’t try to fit in because you feel left out. Celebrate understanding your uniqueness and gradually begin to build your confidence to express your most authentic self to the world, but with regards to what we are talking about today, with your love, your partner.
2. Become an extraordinary listener
“It can only be true love when you enable your other half to be better, to be the person they’re destined to be.” —Michelle Yeoh
Sometimes our loves, the special person in our life, doesn’t know how amazing or capable they are. Sometimes, often, it is easier for others to see what is possible. And it is with listening that we unearth what truly sparks and enlivens them, what they wish to pursue. As well, through observation, it becomes quickly clear what makes our love comes to life. As a partner, be a part of the foundation that lifts them, that helps reveal to them what they cannot see for themselves. Whether through encouragement, support, or thoughtful communication, begin by being an extraordinary listener and then apply what you hear (and what you see) to help them rise.
3. Strengthen the bidding culture in your relationship
In episode #140 of the podcast, Emotional Intelligence was discussed in-depth, and one skill those with high EQs have is responding to their partner’s bidding and making bids toward their partner which are reciprocated. Bidding is turning toward your partner when they reach out, however simple or grand. It is giving of yourself, your time, your attention: being present.
While yes, a tremendous amount of bidding will take place on Valentine’s Day, why not continue to do the bidding the entire year. From a simple note left in their phone case to discover when they open it, to tending to a task that will lighten their busy schedule. Such simple gestures, but it requires both partners be present to initiate as well as respond.
4. Choose to grow
“True love brings up everything – you’re allowing a mirror to be held up to you daily.” —Jennifer Aniston
Choosing to grow as an individual, to improve upon our weaknesses and strengthen our best qualities is an admirable pursuit, but as Jennifer Aniston reminds, when we enter into a relationship, a relationship of vulnerability and hope, we observe even moreso how we can improve. Why? Because it is far simpler to be our truest selves in our own company as there is no one to observe; however, to let down our defenses with someone we hope will accept us and we fear losing, we begin to see our growth as well as what we can still need to improve upon.
Maybe it is learning how to better communicate, maybe it is learning how to be more vulnerable, maybe it is learning how to be comfortable in our own company. Whatever it is, choose to grow and never stop learning. Maybe it will be inspiring to your partner, maybe you two will partner up to learn something together from time to time. Either way, never stop and your future will delight you.
5. Let go of the past
“Dear Past, thank you for all the lessons.
Dear Future, I’m ready.” —Mindset is Everything
As we move forward into new relationships, we often will bring with us our experiences from the past. Frequently done so as a means to protect ourselves as we don’t want to be hurt or trip over the same crack. A mistake happens when we allow our intuition to be guided by our past experiences of either pleasure or pain. Too often we assume that through our singular journey in love the past occurrences, however slightly similar to the present, will result in the same outcome. The good news is, this is not the case. Yes, we can learn from our past, but because we arrive at our new relationship a different person who has chosen to grow and evolve, the variables are too vast to assume the same events will happen simply due to a unique individual parallel that we observe between the present and the past.
Sometimes, the past is held on to as comfort, no matter how much pain it rendered. Absurd you might first think, but consider this. What we were hurt by in the past was often the occurrence of the unknown, the unexpected, and so if we choose to believe that it could happen again, no matter how slight the parallels are to our present, we choose to err on the side of knowing rather than risk the unknown, and in so doing, cling to what we know, even if it pushing away what we seek. Unfortunately, by choosing this approach we miss out on the great possibility of love. So, let go of the past, be thankful and step bravely forward.
6. Make frequent positive deposits
“Every time something positive happens to either of you, you have made a deposit, whether it is good sex, a kind exchange, a nice chat over lunch, or a satisfying vacation.” -Dr. Elaine Aron, The Highly Sensitive Person in Love,
The phrase, good relationships take work is often a misnomer. A misnomer because the term “work” carries with it often a slight negative connotation. Technically, yes, it is work to consciously put effort into something in order to see it thrive, but much like a passion we choose to pursue for our career, it is done without hesitation, without worries of time and provides its own fuel, so to speak. Making the positive deposits is an expression of love, of thoughtfulness, of support for the individual who sparks this passion, and while you may be too exhausted or short on time, it is when you make time, set as a priority and protect what you love that reveals to your partner your affection for them: positive deposits.
7. Get out of the routine regularly
How is that possible if you are doing it regularly? Simply put, mix it up a bit and not just on Valentine’s Day.
Instead of solely focusing on February 14th to express your adoration and affection for the one you love, why not choose to invest throughout the entire year. Imagine the growth your relationship will undergo. And while it is absolutely understandable if you want to partake in the consumer spending that last year topped $19.7 billion on this one holiday (NRF), be mindful that you do so and you give so that your partner feels loved.
Wishing you and yours a lovely Valentine’s Day next week and all the days in between this year’s occasion and next.
~Learn How to Love: 26 Ways to Love Fully (podcast)