by Jami Keller, Cofounder and Coach
It’s that time of year again…St. Valentine’s Day. A pretty decent idea, albeit strangely ironic being that it’s attached to a bloody historical event and all. But the idea around it is a good one--to celebrate love. And then there’s this looming issue…LOVE. What is love? Even if we narrow it down to romantic love, only a part of the bigger picture of love, it is still difficult to put your finger on it.
Oh, and add in the expectations of your romantic interest. Flowers, chocolates, and expensive candlelit dinners. It seems that even if this is done well, they are often disappointing as far as romance is concerned. And, wow, this is compounded if you are gift-challenged and already did those three things last year. Doing them again is just kinda, well, blah.
For me the whole gift-giving thing is a mystery. I was a total failure at it. Even if I got the flowers, chocolate and candlelit dinner somewhat organized at the last minute I would get a “thank you” and hug for my efforts, but the overall feeling I walked away with was that it was a disappointment at best.
How can you possibly show your partner how much you love them? It really has nothing to do with flowers and chocolate. It’s really about the passion for living a love affair of two hearts. Connecting souls in a powerful and intimate way.
Honestly, the tools to connect in this deeper way have been subtly ignored over the last evolution of our modern culture. The simple and powerful way that some couples communicate naturally is missed by most couples. This absence of basic emotional connection leaves many with a bad taste in their mouth for flowers and chocolate, and for any relationship at all. Coupleships require maintenance, and the how of this maintenance is just as mysterious as changing the transmission oil in our cars (for most of us).
What is the best gift for your sweetheart? A real investment in the relationship is actually simple and easy to convey. If you spend five or five hundred dollars, the impact can be the same with this simple addition.
What is it? Are you ready for the secret ingredient that will make you a St. Valentine Hero? It is hearing your partner with empathy, being able to look them in the eyes and let them know you totally understand and feel their pain and joy with them and are committed to a shared happiness.
It’s not magic but it does require a little finesse.
Back to my journey. I found out after years that it was really important to Marla that I was organized enough ahead of time to make this all happen. This was the most important part of the gift to her, and it didn’t matter if it was pizza or steak! What? That seemed too easy…
It wasn’t until I stopped being so self-centered about the whole thing that I was able to to stop and allow myself to see the love of my life had hurts and dreams and desires that were more than sex, chocolates and shallow words.
I found out that the most important part of the gift, that heartfelt and tear-stained empathy for where she is right now, required that I dropped the act of being confident and allowed her to see my heart with it’s doubts and fears. Then all I had to do was connect my heart with hers in a subtle form of leadership that is not learned, but can be coached.
So this Valentine's Day Remember to be thoughtful (last second thoughtful and transformational gift HERE), but most of all remember to let down your guard and no matter what words come out, let your lover know that you are all in, because the only reason to live is this kind of love.