Love is in the Air By: Jen Champion
February is the season of romance, especially with Valentine’s Day on the 14th.
It’s a sweet celebration of love that gives us a little break from the darker days during the winter months.
This holiday offers us an opportunity to show our loved ones how much we appreciate them. We can foster our connections and strengthen our relationships by expressing this love to our family, friends, and community.
Before exploring this idea of celebrating love, let us revisit the folklore around Valentine’s Day.
Legend has it that St. Valentine was a Roman Christian priest who performed marriages of young lovers to keep the men from being sent off to war.
When political authorities discovered that St. Valentine was doing this, he was imprisoned and martyred. Stories say he met the jailor’s daughter and fell in love with her. Then before his execution on February 14, 1269, he gave her a letter signed, “Your Valentine.”
Even after all years, this salutation lives on today.
We celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving our loved ones notes, flowers, and other gifts to remind them we care. Even exchanging dark chocolate is a traditional and contemporary gift good for health!
But our gifts can also go beyond material items.
Respect is also a gift to be fostered and shared. Having respect for others and for ourselves can lead us on the path of inner satisfaction and unconditional love.
When we respect ourselves, we can communicate and connect in kinder ways.
These qualities are gifts we can share with our companions and they contribute to the philosophy of “love thy neighbor.”
A hug is another gift that can be shared. By wrapping our arms around someone and holding them close, we can show them how much they mean to us.
This sincere gesture is good for our health as well. Science reveals that hugs lower stress hormones and blood pressure.
A hug held for 20 seconds releases oxytocin, a hormone referred to by scientists as the “cuddle hormone.” And a self-hug offers the same benefits while giving a nice stretch to the shoulders and upper back.
This Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to cherish yourself and others.
Thich Nhat Hanh expressed this beautifully when he said, “The teachings on love given by the Buddha are clear, scientific, and applicable… Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything.”
We can begin to lead with respect and love everywhere we go. It is vital to our overall well-being to live in a society that uplifts one another.
Want to incorporate more love into your everyday life?
Practice caring for yourself and loved ones: Cultivate self-awareness and appreciation by supporting others. This may be done through massage, therapeutic touch, pressure point therapy, mudras, positive affirmations, poems, music, and meditation.
Get comfortable with empathy: Relate to others by holding onto compassion during differences of opinion.
Listen to yourself to receive heartfelt affirmations: Affirmations are a positive forward-directed truth that we can connect with deeply. Create a paper heart of any style and write the affirmation on it. From here, we can write it repeatedly or create a tally to keep track every time we re-embrace these affirmations.