How To Find Your Valentine
Valentine’s Day is a good day to step back and ask yourself, “Just what is this thing we call romantic love? The following excerpt from my upcoming book might offer you some insight:
Love Is Not What Most Of Us Think It Is
One trap we women can fall into is to worship a pretty-sounding word like “love,” without actually knowing what we mean by it or where it comes from. “Love” conjures up a picture of people devotedly taking care of each other – no matter what. This ideal of unconditional love gives you a secure, warm, fuzzy feeling. You want love to be bestowed upon you by others without your having to earn it. Then you feel like something is wrong with you when you can’t find unconditional love from others. And you feel guilty when you can’t give unconditional love to others.
Take heart, there is nothing wrong with you. It’s just that you’re confused over what makes love possible. The fact is, love is neither dependent on others nor unconditional:
- Love does not come from you loving others or from others loving you. It comes from you valuing yourself. It comes from valuing yourself so much that you put forth the effort to build your character, your knowledge, your skills, and your productive abilities and then strive to achieve life-promoting values and goals that are important and exciting to you. Your own personal strivings and achievements enable you to respect yourself, to live meaningfully, and to make your dreams come true, and that is what enables you to love others and love living your life.
- Genuine love is neither cheap nor causeless: it has to be earned. You cannot love living your life, or love anybody else, “no matter what.” You must first be right with the world and with yourself. You must have a healthy Recipe For Living, a Recipe that enables you to honor reality and value yourself. And you must be true to your values by using your own time and effort to strive for your goals. Only then can you love living your life or truly love and appreciate another person.
- Love is selfish – not selfless or brutish. Part of loving your life is to be aware of the difference between loving selflessly out of pity or duty to other people’s say-so (like a Submissive Wendy), loving brutishly out of a feeling that you must impose your higher understanding or cause on others “for their own good” (like a Little Hitler), and loving selfishly out of a desire to magnify your own productivity and enjoyment of life with other like-minded souls. While selfless love is disrespectful of the one who is loving, and brutish love is disrespectful of the people who are being “loved,” selfish love is a relationship of mutual respect and celebration of both the lover and the loved one’s joy in directing their own lives by their own values and dreams.
Your Have To Love Yourself Before You Can Love Another
Loving you life requires that you be aware of any person who tries to talk you out of valuing yourself – anyone who bad-talks your “selfness,” or treats your selfhood as something to be sacrificed to others, or to be thought of as shameful. Loving your life, as well as loving others, comes from knowing that “others” are also “selves,” and knowing that your “self” has just as much right to exist as another person’s self. Loving your life, as well as loving other people, comes from honoring that we are each an individual “self” with our own irreplaceable life to live and our own individual dreams to pursue.
You Don’t Have To Wait For Your Valentine — You Can Make Yourself Love-Able
When you discover that you don’t have to sacrifice yourself or your dreams to others to be a good person, and that others don’t have to sacrifice their selfhood or their dreams to you, you can feel good will toward all. You can cheer for yourself and at the same time you can cheer for others. You can become benevolently self-centered by being true to your own dreams, and you can inspire and be inspired by other people who are also benevolently and self-centeredly being true to their own dreams. You can know that the world is a wonderful place to be, you can know you are ready to fall in love, and you can love living your life. And if anyone says to you, “It’s all about you, isn’t it?” you can smile and gently say, “Yes, and I hope your life is all about you.”
Only when you and your potential soul-mates are living and loving your own lives do you have something to fall in love with. And when you discover that you and another life-loving person enjoy enough things in common, you are able to join in a profound mutual celebration of what you each have made of yourselves and your lives.
Two Simple Guidelines To Finding Your Valentine
To boil this down into two simple guidelines:
- You have to make yourself the kind of person you want to be and create the kind of life you want to live.
- Then you have to find another person who has made himself the kind of person you can admire and want to join your life with.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY… because even if you don’t have a Valentine today, you now know how to honor yourself and earn the kind of joy a true Valentine can bring.