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How did you do with Valentine’s Day?

Don’t worry if your big date was a big dud. There’s still love waiting.

In the February series, The Relaxed Heart, we’re talking about how to keep an open heart amid tension. One of the ways to do that is by practicing self-love.

Are you excited to put yourself at the top of the list?

Hold up. You’re not getting a pass to do whatever you want.

The highest expression of self-love is rooted in self-respect. Because when you respect yourself, the decisions you make – for your mental, emotional and physical well-being – are made with integrity.

Let’s put it another way: First do no harm. To others or yourself.

Alexa’s romance with Janie was off to a fast start. That’s why I was surprised to see her with a long face last week.

“How was Etta’s? It’s supposed to be one of Tom Douglas’ best restaurants.”

“The sashimi was cold, and so was I by the end of the dinner!” Alexa laughed.

“What’s the matter? You went out a few times after you met at that gourmet cooking class – right? I thought you guys were getting along great!” I said.

“We do get along. I just don’t think Janie’s ready for a relationship.”

“Huh? But you said she’s been divorced for over a year.”

“That’s true,” Alexa said, grimacing. “But she mentions her ex out of habit. I suggested that we go skiing, and Janie’s response was, “Laura and I really liked Whistler.” I changed the subject and talked about going abroad. Janie launched into the blow-by-blow story about their incredible trip to Italy.”

not-knowing-and-loving-it

“Hmm…I see what you mean. That doesn’t sound very romantic,” I said, trying to console her.

“Exactly! I’m disappointed, but it’s all right,” Alexa said, frowning. “I really like her, but I think it’s best if we’re just cooking buddies.”

“Her friends and family encouraged Janie to get on with her life, but I think that’s just ended up being a big distraction. For heaven’s sake, she talked about her ex so much I was starting to feel like a seat filler at one of those awards shows. You know – the people who smile and look beautiful while the superstar is in the powder room?!”

Her face darkened. “Janie needs to work through the fall-out from their split. She may not know what she wants, but I do. I just can’t keep going.”

It’s tempting to want a guarantee for what comes next. But rushing to find a relationship, or prop up one that’s sagging, is the emotional version of a seat filler – a choice that only works for the next 5 minutes. When you have to constantly stir up and crank up something to keep it going, losing yourself – maybe not today, but at some point – is a given.

This week, get back to center by giving yourself support and respect. Because when you feel supported, you replace stress with a relaxed heart.

Promise yourself: no more seat filling and no more marking time. Make this time and place wonderful. A loving partner will thank you for it.