This Valentine’s Day, Love Means Following Your True North
Not just about romantic love, Valentine's Day is a day to observe your own needs and desires.
It was a year ago today that I was relieved from an unhappy situation (my job). Yes, on Valentine’s Day. Without dwelling on the negativity that surrounded that experience, I can recognize the favor my boss was granting me— I do believe he thought of it that way, despite my perspective of how everything could have gone so differently...
It definitely put a damper on our Valentine’s Day celebration. With only 1 month before our wedding, this particular Valentine’s Day had a certain expectation that was tragically shattered with the pain, anger, and stress that goes with getting fired.
My fiancé, however, took it well. He held me in compassion, and forgave me for the disruption the event caused us. We knew it was inevitable anyway, and had been preparing for it for a long time. Over our simple Valentine’s dinner, we created a plan moving forward that relieved me from seeking another full time job out of desperation. He was granting me permission to follow my true north.
My fiancé promised me security and comfort while I shrugged off my painful employment history to take on a new venture of self-employment. I guaranteed him I would not be profitable for a long time, and he accepted that. Instead, he encouraged me to fulfill my dreams, to do the hard, unpaid work to build my portfolio, and that we’d stretch our dollars in the meantime to make it work. All that mattered was that I did not forfeit my integrity and happiness in a working environment that caused me suffering.
The relief I felt was real. I allowed myself a few more hours of anger, of grief, of self-judgment, and then, with the permission of my family, and from myself, I let go. I was freed. I was allowed to turn my attention and my energy towards the happiest upcoming day of my life: my wedding— only 1 month ahead. The excitement and preparation for that day was permitted to take over my psyche, and I could finally close a long, painful chapter of my life that had haunted me for years.
And so, I was able to cleanse my heart and my soul in ways that, despite years of meditation and therapy, I could never do before. I was actually able to follow my New Years Resolution, and cultivate daily joy. Even home alone in front of my computer, I was able to find reasons to laugh and be silly. My chores and errands became opportunities to make heart-felt exchanges with strangers, making friendly connections with the cashiers at the grocery stores, the gas station, and at coffee shops. This invited daily gratitude and deeper compassion for others. I was able to smile when by myself, all because I felt the freedom to— I didn’t need to make anyone else happy, just myself.
My wedding day was truly happier and filled with more love than I ever imagined it could have been. The cynical me had always expected it to feel like we would be going through the motions, but in actuality, it was so genuinely loving and fulfillling, and fun! By the end of the night, my heart was boiling over with gratitude, love, and happiness for everyone and everything on the planet. No drug could ever produce a match to the ecstasy I felt that day!
The months that followed carried these feelings with them. My days were filled with creating content for SandSilkSky, building dream catchers, and promoting my workshops. I began cultivating growth for my personal website, www.hannahrothblatt.com, as well as getting in daily yoga, running, workouts at the gym, meditation, and— more so than ever— cooking wholesome meals throughout the day.
I took on a few creative projects, as both a video editor and a photographer, and did some writing for other companies. I was really enjoying the freelance life!
Our honeymoon came and went— 2 weeks visiting 5 National Parks, running a half-marathon along the way. My birthday came and went— a quiet night at home with my husband and our cat. When only a few days later our cat became gravely ill (with an astronomical hospital bill), I decided to sacrifice some of the ease of my days by finding a part time job— but this time, I would only accept a position that I felt good about, not desperate for. Within hours of my search, I was having a phone interview and agreeing to begin a position that could help me pay down the medical bills, enjoy my morning and evening routines, and was close enough to home that I could walk to work.
Very soon after that, as our cat slowly recovered, I got pregnant. For newly weds, a child-on-the-way is the greatest expression of their love for each other. My husband, already working extra hard to support the two of us on his salary, was now feeling the pressure of needing to support a baby. I, too, felt his stress.
Together, my partner in crime (and in spirituality) and I came to an agreement that for our child’s sake, we had to dissolve our stress as quickly as we felt it coming on. We had to strengthen our meditation practice, our methods towards gratitude and forgiveness, and for love, to ensure the healthy and happy outcome of our child inutero. This was an active effort for both of us whenever we needed to reflect on our income and projected savings.
But together, we put family first, and our happiness into each other. This, if anything, is a definitive characteristic of our relationship. Everyday I feel grateful that he is as aware of his emotions and reactions as I am, and that he understands his power to control and release as necessary.
So a year has passed since last Valentine’s Day, when the seething infection I had lived with for so long was sterilized and I could finally heal. I’m now in my third trimester, and we are on the verge of moving closer to our dreams of living in the mountains, to a lifestyle that continues to put our family’s happiness first. In fact, we have boxes packed and are carrying our first load to our new home as soon as tomorrow!
As I mentioned, I have spent years practicing meditation and going to therapy. I have at least a decade of hard, deeply personal work behind me, and yet, I was still suffering from the same old issue. This is to say that healing doesn't actually happen overnight. I always felt that my happiness was beyond my grasp as long as my internal power struggle ensued. My need to have my contributions valued by others has not been resolved, per se, but it has been redirected so that my only audience is the one who is seeking the value that I can offer. That is a way healthier approach, and again, I think it can serve metaphorically for others as they develop a plan to dissolve the source of suffering in their lives.
Everyone has different problems that require different solutions, and thankfully, I had been given the ability and permission to decapitate my source of anguish despite the usual consequences that come with prolonged unemployment. Yet, I believe that for many people, a similar approach is possible for many of the circumstances that cause them suffering. Acceptance, preparation, release, and new growth are concepts that can be applied to a multitude of overarching issues in any one’s life, and can ease— if not eradicate— the associated pain.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated as a day of love, not just between couples, but towards yourself and to others, whoever they are in your life. My wish is that for everyone to love themselves enough to recognize how to dissolve the source of suffering their lives, and to prepare a path onward that cultivates deeper love, joy, and gratitude each and every day. If you have a spiritual partner to grant you permission, make sure that today they know how much they mean to you. And if you don’t, find that person within yourself, and give yourself all the permission you need to make happiness yours. You are worthy, you are loved, and you are more than enough. <3