There’s simply no denying it – real, meaningful love brings about an intoxicating sense of joy and happiness. As human beings, we all yearn to feel wanted. It’s what gives us a sense of belonging. Conversely, being starved of love is probably the deepest emotional pain and if that need is lodged within you, it cries out to be healed.

When we experience acceptance and approval, we feel better about who we are – these are intrinsic emotions that we all share. But they are complex, and also come with many limitations, frustrations and payoffs. 

Although COVID-19 has deprived us of precious human connections, trust and faith, it may just have been a secret teacher, which is calling our spirits back to their most sacred selves. It’s almost as if this dreadful virus is acting as a messenger, forcing us to find moments of silence, teaching us the value of alone time, and ensuring that we isolate a little more so that we can regroup and align ourselves with our primal life force. 

Those who are on a spiritual path do not view being alone, keeping a distance from people, and becoming silent as obstacles – but rather see them as opportunities. They know that these are all chances for self-discovery and clarity. Breathing in deeply and grounding all your emotions in the present is how you allow the wisdom of your heart to unfold. 


True guidance occurs between yourself and your highest self

When you disengage from life outside of yourself, you're able to free your energy from the artificial lure of things like touched-up photos, which imprison your heart’s potential to know love without illusions. That’s when you can open yourself to love that is based on purity, needs no masks, and doesn't have to create anything to be liked or receive ‘likes’.

Grounding ourselves in the present and what’s real allows us to return to the knowledge that when we become dependent on others and the world out there, we do so at the expense of our most precious Self, and risk not experiencing love in its truest form.

And almost like a virus, we then attract those who are needy and desperate for healing. As a host for this kind of energy, we interact subconsciously, using our empathy to keep feeding the virus with the divine love we hold in our hearts. Graciously giving away love to another, we keep doing this just to feel like we belong…

While a momentary experience of romantic love can release a fountain of joy and bliss, it also holds the potential to leave you with unfulfilled longing – and a constant yearning to return to that moment of intimacy. In the same vein, while relationships enable us to expand our hearts, grow and learn how to become more loving, they aren’t meant to imprison our souls.

As Kabir Helminski, a Sufi Shaikh, wisely observed:  “Hearts need education and refinement just as the body needs exercise and moderation.”

This year, real and meaningful knowledge within our hearts will be the theme on Valentine’s Day – and beyond. I truly believe that emotional skills and traits such as compassion, kindness, reverence, clarity and openness are coming to the fore, and the world certainly needs all of these right now. 

The day comes with many universal lessons. This includes being fully present in our heart-to-heart conversations – listening with awareness and without judgment. There’s no place for blaming, yelling or screaming, just a deep desire for compassion and understanding; to teach instead of trying to negotiate love rules. 

Marianne Williamson’s beautiful book about applying the principles of love to all difficult situations – A Return to Love – is so relevant right now. It illustrates how love brings about healing and personal transformation, whether you’re experiencing pain in relationships, your career, health or emotions. It also highlights the power of love to restore inner peace and shows how you can make your life more fulfilling as you create a peaceful and loving world for your children/loved ones.  

I encourage you to use this profound quote from the book in your meditations, and consider when or how you’ve kept the peace at the expense of your own inner peace:

“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

Her powerful words don’t stop there and she continues to say, “As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” It reminds me of the equally powerful words of Phil McGraw, who said that we teach others how they should treat us. I can’t think of a more applicable situation than the complex web of romantic love to apply this to, as this is where we desperately need to make our emotional needs and pain known – without making another person responsible for our own happiness. That is true freedom.