Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you are in a relationship or not, Valentine’s gives us the chance to talk freely about love. Some people believe that Valentine’s day today is nothing but another fabrication of capitalism, a commercial holiday that obligates us to buy chocolates and flowers; but to me, any reason to celebrate is worth celebrating. Life is way too short to be bitter about the reasons that prompt an otherwise innocent celebration like Valentine’s. Life is a celebration! embrace it! Or not, it’s entirely your choice. I choose Love!
However, Valentine’s doesn’t have to be all about being in a romantic relationship with someone else. It is that logic that creates Cupido haters in the world. In Buddhist practice, we’re taught to move in the world from a place of inner validation, rather than outer. So let’s use Valentine’s Day as a time to come back to our own hearts—the only place where we will experience true, lasting love. Yes, I have been talking a lot about self-love and Buddhism lately, and it is because I have discovered how important it is to love and respect ourselves both for our wellbeing and the understanding of others. You don’t need to practice Buddhism in order to live some parts of your life under Buddhism – just take what serves you a purpose, and implement it in your daily life.
Loving kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and a particular form of equanimity are the four kinds of love taught and encouraged in classic Buddhist teachings. None of these are uniquely Buddhist; they are four qualities of heart that reside within everyone, at least as potentials.
Ancient wisdom understood that our true happiness does not rest with others. It comes from within. Acceptance, self-love, confidence and inner strength are the bricks in the path to happiness.
“If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, happiness follows them like a never-departing shadow.” Buddha
This path to happiness needs to be carved. We live in a society that from a young age teaches us about validation of the group. A society that fills out brains with the utopia of perfection. Being a perfect size, having the perfect hair. We are pressured every day into believing we are not enough. In our failed relationships we are reminded of how we are not enough. We have to make a conscious decision to stop the cycle of self-doubt and build toward our own happiness. We are whole, we are complete, we do not need “another half”. Compassion, empathy, love, are the things that make us beautiful human beings.
“Speak only endearing speech … Speech, when it brings no evil to others, is a pleasant thing.” Buddha
Negative words bring negative actions…
If there is one lesson, just one lesson I want my son to learn from me is to always remain pure of heart and compassionate. Kindness is strongly encouraged in our house and rudeness is never accepted. He knows this. We respect ourselves, we respect each other, and we respect all living creatures.
Respect and love yourself this valentine’s day. Celebrate LOVE from within. Celebrate YOU.