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In honor of Valentine’s Day this week, I chose this quote:

When all your desires are distilled you will cast just two votes: To love more and be happy. ~Hafiz of Persia

I chose this quote also because one of my assignments for a marriage and family therapy class involves watching a video on a woman who is dying from AIDS.  She is estranged from her family and has come to therapy in order to “die well.”  In it, she expresses that she wishes she knew that she mattered to her family–especially her mother.  These two questions:  Do you love me?  Do I matter? exist to some degree or another in each one of us, whether it’s for the members of our family-of-origin or for our partners or sometimes even our children.

Sometimes, in an effort to protect ourselves, we shut ourselves off or act out in ways that don’t come across as very loving or connecting.  We’ve been hurt, why should we risk it again?  Or, our timidity at becoming committed to someone who may possibly hurt us again serves to put a barrier up keeping out the things we deeply crave:  love and connection.

Human beings crave love; they want to be happy.  No one walks around saying, “Gee, I hate people–I think I’m going to surround myself with people who hate me or put me down.”  Or, “I want to be unhappy and wallow in my misery.”  But that’s what happens sometimes.  Deep down, they don’t really want that, they just can’t see a way out.  They are behaving the way they think they are–unloveable to some extent.

This moment in time is all we have.  If you want to be happy, BE happy–right now!  Be present to the Now.

Do this:  Pay attention to your breath and as you take a deep breath in, breathe in saying to yourself “I breathe in love and happiness.”  Breathe out and imagine as your breath leaves you, so too does all the pain and negativity you’ve been carrying around.  Let it go.  Do this three times–three deep breaths.

If you want more love in your life–whether it’s from a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner, family members, friends, etc, you have to give more love. Take a chance.  Open your heart.  Today’s a new day–how will you live it differently?  How will you invite more love into your life?  You can’t change or control other people, but you can change your own thoughts and actions.

I’ve coached a lot of people who have been through relationship break-ups and those who have gone through Parental Alienation.  Divorce, break-ups, and PA–these all involve loss.  They also provide tremendous learning opportunities in which to learn more about yourself, relationships, life, and love.  We may not be able to change the past, but here, in the Now, we can still carry love in our hearts.  You always have the choice of giving love–no one can take that away.  It doesn’t have to be toward a new romantic relationship, it can be volunteering your services for a cause you care about.  It can be doing random acts of kindness because you care about the world around you.  That care–those tokens of love you express through volunteering or contributing in some way–make the world a better place.  Don’t stifle your love because you’ve been hurt, learn to re-open your heart in other ways.

Life is too short to not express the love we have in our hearts.  It is our greatest treasure and one that is meant to be shared.