It’s February again and with that comes Valentine’s Day and thoughts of finding that “special someone.” All of us want love, affection, and companionship and many of us hope that this will be the time when we find someone who can be “The One” for us. While this romantic notion is reinforced by our culture, it asks us to search outside ourselves for happiness. It limits our focus to an idealized future. We become preoccupied with how things could be when “Mr. or Ms. Right” arrives. We miss the potential for a variety of happy experiences in the present moment because we are too busy waiting for a specific sort of “romantic happiness” later.
How can you bring your awareness back to where you are today and therefore increase your opportunities for love and joy right now? As Deepak Chopra said to a woman who asked him how she could find her special someone, “Stop looking for the right one. Be the right one.”†
Here are some simple suggestions on how you might do just that:
Instead of searching for someone attractive, be attractive. Eat healthy food, exercise, get your hair cut or styled, try some new clothes, make your living and working spaces inviting, notice and appreciate the attractiveness of others.
Instead of searching for someone caring, be caring. Make the effort to reach out to people who might be lonely or are going through tough times, ask others how they are and then listen sincerely, do something simple that makes another person feel special.
Instead of searching for someone exciting, be exciting. Learn something new, try a new sport or activity, go somewhere you have never gone before, do something just for fun, question your patterned responses, challenge yourself to keep an open mind when experiencing unfamiliar ideas or people.
Instead of searching for someone successful, be successful. Do your job to the best of your ability, see your efforts as important regardless of whether your work is seen as glamorous, look for a new career if your job feels unfulfilling, don’t ever let your paycheck define your worth.
Bring power back to your present moment. Enjoy your life now. Be the attractive, caring, exciting, successful person you seek. Doing so will not only help you develop yourself, but it will also help you attract people with these same qualities.
Self-Discovery Tool Number 58
Stretch your concept of finding love. See that sincerely loving and enjoying yourself is the best way to find love with another. If you are looking for someone special, start by being that someone yourself!
†p. 69, The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Power of Your True Self, by D. Chopra, D. Ford, and M. Williamson (HarperCollins, 2010). www.theshadoweffect.com
It is February and almost Valentine’s Day. At this time of year, traditional expressions of caring are popular. The media and the entertainment industry provide idealized images of lovers exchanging luxury items or dining in lavish restaurants. As appealing as these conventional approaches can be, what if we tried exchanging something very different yet equally beautiful to honor love?
This Valentine’s Day, why not give your thoughts and appreciation as gifts? How often do we take the time to tell significant others – whether lovers, family, or friends – how and why we value them? Do something unique and out of the ordinary by letting those you love know what specifically you find great about them. Here are few ideas to get you started:
- Make a list of things you admire in your loved one
- Share a cherished memory of time spent together
- Fill in the blank, “You are wonderful because_________.”
- Compose a poem featuring the positive attributes of your significant other
- Write a story that illustrates your esteem
- Play (or sing) a favorite song with lyrics that captures how you feel
- Have a conversation where the goal is expressing appreciation
- Say “Thank you” or “I love you” or “I care”
Try one of these simple but powerful suggestions. Most of us have not done this for those we care about in a long time and some of us have yet to try this. Be brave, as it may seem a little awkward to express your feelings, especially if it’s been awhile. Nevertheless, we think the benefits of goodwill will outweigh any initial discomfort you may feel and indeed may motivate you to reach out regularly to let important others know you care. After all, a holiday is not necessary to demonstrate caring.
Self-Discovery Tool #47
What difference could we make in our relationships if we simply told others what we admired about them? Instead of a grand gesture, or traditional or expensive gifts, what if we gave something infinitely sweeter and shared the truth in our hearts? Use this Valentine’s Day as a reason to tell your significant others why they are special – who knows, they may just do the same for you?!
In the US and in many other spots around the world, it seems that each year we have become more obsessed with the material trappings of the holiday season. There is a sense of pressure and urgency to buy, spend, and overdo it. The impact may be more intense for those of us who celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, but it reaches all of us regardless of whether we come from a tradition of exchanging gifts at this time of year or not.
How did we get to this place? We can’t simply blame the marketers, advertisers, and retailers. After all, we staff these organizations and they merely reflect the culture from which they originate. Perhaps we need to examine our motives for following and perpetuating this trend. Perhaps we need to face our personal insecurities telling us that we are not good enough if we don’t buy the latest toy for our children or grandchildren or the latest fashion or gadget for ourselves.
What would happen if we all paused for a moment to ask ourselves what really matters? What might we see if we spent some time contemplating the true nature of giving and receiving? If we did, would we still think we could find meaning and joy at a store or wrapped in a box?
Think about what authentic giving and receiving means to you. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- When interacting with someone you love and who makes you happy is this good feeling generated because you are both wearing the latest fashions while riding together in a brand new luxury car or is it the quality of the conversation?
- When you feel especially close to a friend or family member is this because you have had an expensive dinner at the trendiest restaurant or is it because you have shared something about yourself and encouraged the same intimacy in your companion?
- When thoroughly enjoying an activity with significant others is this because collectively you have an opportunity to impress each or is it because you are appreciating the collaboration that occurs when people feel comfortable being themselves with one another?
We would like to inspire you to throw off the cultural programming that tells you that giving material things is required if you want to be a good friend, parent, lover, spouse, etc. and see that honoring the spirit of the holiday season is more than purchasing things.
Self-Discovery Tool 5/45
Let’s start a revolution that puts gift-giving in the proper perspective: a lovely symbol of caring that neither replaces the caring itself, nor is a requirement to prove anything to yourself or loved ones. Let’s go back to basics and realize anew that love is the true currency of giving and receiving – what could be brighter than this?!