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What we can learn from Valentine's Day.

"Valentine's Day? I don't "celebrate" this made-up Holiday. It's just another way to rip us off. Commercial nonsense that's aimed at selling useless crap. And what about single people? This so-called "day of love" creates nothing but stress, high expectations, disappointment, and loneliness"

These are just some of the opinions I've heard about Valentine's Day over the last couple of years. And to some extent I agree. BUT... what if we came up with a meaningful way to celebrate LOVE and honor our loved ones and use it as a reminder to be loving and attentive all year long?

Valentine's Day can serve as a subtle reminder how important it is to give attention to the people around us. Especially to those who we hold close to our hearts. As a psychologist I've had many couples in my practice who had grown apart, where partners felt neglected and yearned for some kindness, respect and genuine contact.

Valentine's Days can point out that we need to feel valued and special. It doesn't matter whether we're newlyweds, experience puppy love or are in a committed long-term relationship. Stop for a moment and think of the people who truly matter to you. Do something extraordinary for them once in a while. Think of the people around you who might be in need of some kindness, romance or encouragement. You don't even have to wait for this "day of love". You can make any day you like a day to remember.

Take out your planner and schedule a date with your partner. Act as if you would with someone you've just met. Except you're with someone who you feel really comfortable and familiar with. Ask questions, be curious, get to know each other all over again. Ignite the spark between you. There's nothing more powerful than heartfelt interest in the other person.

A "Valentine's Day" that is celebrated on a regular basis, once a month for instance, will allow you to reconnect with and stay connected to the people you love. Paying attention to each other's needs,making an effort, showing you care about each other, is the key to a long, successful relationship. you'll be able to spot possible issues much sooner and make the necessary adjustments to continue on your mutual path. In a romantic relationship you'll be able to keep things passionate, fresh and exciting.

Each relationship takes effort, time, attention and work. It doesn't have to be hard work. Once on track, it's just maintenance. Keep communicating, be respectful and mindful of yourself and the other person. Spread love and really connect. Surprise each other with small presents, cook a delicious meal or buy some flowers if you know your friend/spouse/colleague/family member really enjoys that. Not because it's Valentine's Day, but because you actually care.

Imagine what will happen if you truly let your heart speak...more than once a year.

Let's spread LOVE together. Happy Valentine's Day!

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