Didn't get what you wanted for Valentine's Day? Or maybe you did, but you know not every day is going to feel like Valentine's Day. Either way, I have the best news for you!
You never have to wait for love!
You don't have to wait until Valentine's Day, or you meet your "special someone," or your spouse starts doing all the things you wish he would do. You don't even have to wait until tomorrow!
Unconditional love is a gift we can give ourselves.
We don't have to wait until someone else loves us. We don't have to wait until we are perfect. We definitely don't have to wait until we fully master the qualities of charity listed in Corinthians Chapter 13 (you know – patient, kind, longsuffering, etc.)
The truth is that we influence how we feel by what we think – and love is a feeling.
Love feels good. Love makes life easier, not harder. Most of us want to feel love more often, yet we don't consciously choose to feel love.
Imagine you bought your favorite treat at the store – maybe some fudgy chocolate brownies. Would you ask someone else to eat them and have that experience for you? No! That would be ridiculous. If you wanted the joyful experience of eating the warm, gooey, chocolate goodness, you would eat the brownie yourself. Just like no one can enjoy your brownie for you – no one can feel your love for you. You feel love inside yourself.
Because you are the "only thinker in your mind" (as I've heard Louise Hay put it), any feeling is always available to you. You get to choose how you feel about other people - regardless of how they treat you. We often use other people's behavior as an excuse to feel bad, but why? Love feels fantastic; why would we deny ourselves that wonderful feeling?
If someone else didn't give us the Valentine's Day we expected or didn't say, "I love you," we often choose to feel bad. When we decide to use other people's actions as a reason to feel poorly, we are relinquishing the emotional power for our lives to another person. Is that who you really want to hand your emotional life over to?
Since you influence how you feel by what you think, wouldn't you prefer to feel love most of the time? Wouldn't it feel great if you felt about the people you meet every day the same way you feel about your newborn baby? Or your puppy? Or your fudge brownie Ice Cream?
You can make that choice. You don't even have to tell anyone you're feeling love towards them. You don't have to go to your coworker and tell them, "Hey, I've chosen to feel love towards you." You don't even have to act it out. (Remember, you can feel a feeling all the way through without acting it out.)
Yes, when you feel loving, you will probably act kinder to yourself and other people, but that's a side effect. You feel love because it's an amazing feeling that you choose. It's the closest emotion we have to connect with our Source. The Bible says, "God is love" (John 4:16). Choosing to feel unconditional love for ourselves and others brings us in greater harmony with the God who loves us unconditionally and offers us freedom and grace.
As a final caveat, remember that FEELING unconditional love for someone does not mean unconditionally approving of their behavior. You can love someone and not want to be with them. You can choose loving feelings and still protect yourself and leave a situation. You don't have to take or tolerate any actions you aren't comfortable with.
When you choose love, you get to feel love inside. And love just feels better than the other options.