Who do you LOVE?

After my husband died, February was the worst month of the year for me. It’s the month of LOVE, but Valentine’s Day suddenly became the worst holiday. The advertisements seemed to be nonstop: buy the one you love this, and take the one you love to that. But I didn’t have anyone who loved me… did I?

Valentine’s Day has become the holiday for lovers to focus on each other, declaring their undying love while treating each other extra-special on this special day. However, Valentine’s Day usually turns out to be the holiday when women are disappointed and men are confused, and these are the same ‘lucky’ ones who have a significant other in their life. But what about those who are single, or those who feel stuck in an unhappy, unsatisfying relationship? What do they do?

Valentine’s Day, as a holiday focused on love, is a great idea. Love is everywhere. Love is not just about the romantic kind. There is self-love, friendship love, agape love, love of family spiritual love, agape love, and love of life.

Love is everywhere, and it’s not just about romance; there’s self-love, friendship, love of family, spiritual love, and love of life. Valentine’s Day as a holiday that celebrates love is a great idea; it serves as a reminder of all the types of love we have to be grateful for. Of course, this doesn’t mean that recognizing love on any other day is unnecessary. Use the holiday as a reminder that love is in abundance for everyone—you are never without it. Do you acknowledge this regularly, or do you let yourself forget?

When you were born, people loved you. As a child, you understood that you were the center of the universe, capable of virtually anything—you loved yourself without question. Whatever your higher power is, it can probably be simplified down to Love; every nook and cranny in this world is filled with love that’s accessible to you upon request. The foundation of our existence is Love.

Focus on love every day. On Valentine’s Day, you get to choose the kind of love you want to focus on. If you have a partner, focus on your relationship with him or her. If you want to improve the relationship you have with yourself, focus on loving yourself better. If you’re feeling sorry for yourself, celebrate the love of life by shifting your focus from what you don’t have to the things you do have. Being without a romantic interest does not mean you can’t expand the love in your life by focusing with gratitude about what you have, even if it feels like a minuscule amount.

Where is the love in your life? Do you have friends who love you? Your parents? Siblings? Do you love yourself, even a little? Are their acquaintances or strangers that show you kindness? How about a pet? Do you believe in a higher power that embodies love?

No life is completely devoid of love. If you perceive there is no love in your life, then you have convinced yourself that a lie is true. There is love, you just have to locate it, no matter how small. If you believe in a higher power, then you know love is freely given to you, it just requires tuning into the love that connects all living things. Focus on that love and allow it to fill the spaces between you and the other people in your life.

If you can find one person who loves you or is kind to you, start there. Give thanks every day for the moments of kindness you experience in your life. Show gratitude for every morsel of love that does exist in your life.

And finally, if you are so focused on the lack of love in your life that you are unable to recognize the love you do have, then focus on the love you have for yourself. I imagine you may be thinking, If I can’t think of anyone who loves me, then how can I love myself? But you aren’t in control of what other people do—you can only control yourself. If up to now you’ve hated yourself, today can be the start of the first day of self-love.

Start small—look in the mirror and find something you love about yourself. I think I have pretty feet, so I might start there. Go bit further and look for something that you can’t see in your reflection. For instance, kindness is one of my highest values, and I admire how I share my kindness with others. Focus on that feeling you get once you find something you appreciate about yourself, and before you know it, additional parts of you will make themselves known and you’ll be having a love affair with yourself.

Whatever your relationship status is on Valentine’s Day, in February, or any other month of the year, focus on the abundance of love you have rather than the love you perceive you are missing. Before you know it, you will see love expanding in your life.

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