Life TherapyTM
Psychotherapy & Coaching + Mindfulness & Meditation

What is the true meaning of Valentine's Day?

Contribution by Guest Blogger Melanie Calitri Holden.
Red and pink paper, bits of ribbon and string, a lace doily, glitter, glue, and love, love, love: These are the ingredients that make up a spectacular Valentine! The kids and I are having a ball, cutting and pasting – creating just the perfect Valentine for Grammy and Daddy, and all those that we adore.

As I put the finishing touches on my masterpiece, a small velvet heart in the middle and a sprinkle of glitter to make it shine, I realize that my project is not nearly complete. As a matter of fact, for all the affection and attention I have put into making this card, I still haven’t assembled the message of love to go inside.
What should I say? So many things to tell the man I married about what he means to me, how much I appreciate all that he does, how much I really love him even when I get cranky. All of the feelings that live below the surface of my busy day to day life bubble up at once and I am drowned in my emotion of love and gratitude.
Wow! No wonder I can’t get the words to take shape. It’s like I took the cork out of a tossed and shaken bottle of champagne! Feelings are flying everywhere and I try to capture them and make them stick to my Valentine in the form of words. Why is this so hard?
And then I realize, with a pang in my heart, that these feelings are so explosive because they have been all bottled up, not expressed daily the way they are meant to be. I stop and with humility to assess, How often do I tell him how I feel?”
Communication is the key to growing and keeping any relationship, whether it is with a spouse, a family member, or a business partner. We are often too occupied with the business of life, the day to day tasks that we skip over underlying feelings or issues. Taking a quiet moment to notice your feelings, to put them in perspective, and to address them with another person when needed is critical to a healthy relationship.
Sometimes we bottle up feelings of unease and resentment, afraid to address problems and misunderstandings when they arise. These feelings stay deep within us, fermenting and building pressure. When we finally explode, they are out of proportion, destructive instead of constructive, and we regret our initial hesitation to communicate.
Take stock of your emotions, for they drive your reactions to every conversation and every situation you encounter. With awareness, you can identify the important issues, and carefully choose the timing and content of your response. You can keep little misunderstandings from growing into big problems. You can feed your relationships with the positive and nurturing words and actions that they deserve.
So as I bring my attention back to my Valentine, I know exactly what to write inside. It’s a reminder of the most important ingredient in any relationship, especially the one we have with ourselves: LOVE.

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