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As we move into the week of Valentine’s Day, the energy of romance begins to increase. Two things happen as a result: people respond with open hearts and willingly embrace the holiday as a celebration of love, or people respond by shutting down and turning away from their hearts.

So often, those who dive into the celebration receive dates or gifts or other expressions of love, and those who turn away from their hearts receive nothing at all. Both receive confirmation of their beliefs.

The challenge comes when a person begins to turn toward his/her heart and still nothing happens. Or, a person has turned toward his/her heart and has been hurt or betrayed or abandoned or rejected. This person still may harbor hope for his/her dream of love in his/her heart but is afraid to try again. For this person, this celebration of love can be confusing and painful. It is for this person that I write this post.

The most important universal principle that I have learned is that the outer world is a reflection of our inner world. The first time I heard this, I felt attacked…as though my teacher was blaming me for all the things other people chose to do to me. It took a bit of time and some internal struggle to come to a place of neutrality around this concept. When I did, I realized that this principle is not about blame, but is about personal responsibility. At that point, my perspective shifted from one of victim-hood to one of empowerment…I could change my experience! And, the key to doing that lay within me…not on others.

I realized that my outer world served as a mirror of my inner world…kind of like an experiment’s results. If they didn’t go the way I anticipated they would (such as a betrayal in a relationship), I could look at the method or the variables and make adjustments (where have I betrayed myself and how can I change that?). This is exactly the universal principle my teacher was teaching me. There is no judgement…simply evaluation and adjustments around the process. And, eventually, it becomes a fun game, because the reflections can happen pretty quickly…helping you know if you’re on the right track! With such quick feedback, learning escalates.

For the past three months, I have been focusing on self-care, self-love, personal empowerment, personal support, and personal acceptance. This means that I take full responsibility for meeting those needs within myself…by finding them first in my Divine Line. Then, I took steps to actively demonstrate those beliefs toward myself by getting massages, receiving acupuncture treatments, taking Epsom salt baths, playing with makeup, wearing clothes that inspire confidence and joy, sleeping in, and playing. When I needed to take a nap, I took a nap. When I needed food, I ate. When I needed to cry, I cried…fully honoring myself and caring for myself.

As I have done this, the need for others has diminished significantly. This is not to say that I don’t appreciate others or their company…far from it. Rather, because I don’t need anything from them, I can just enjoy their company and see and accept them for who they are…flaws and all. All expectations dissolve, and we can simply be two people, or a group of people, sharing space and experiences from a place of fullness. This is co-creation.

Today, some beautiful reflections of this inner work came to me as I ran errands about town. One store employee walked me out to my car after I finished purchasing my products. I hadn’t driven, but I appreciated the escort and accepted anyway thinking that he may need a good excuse to get outside for a bit. It turns out that he did. So once we were outside, I told him I was walking and expressed appreciation for his thoughtfulness. On my walk home, another kind gentleman escorted me across the street. I really valued this kindness and thoughtfulness on his part, never once thinking he was insulting my ability as a woman to cross on my own. Then, just as I was turning into my lane, I ran into another gentleman friend in town. We chatted a bit, and as we parted he held out his hand to shake mine. I offered mine in return and to my surprise, he kissed it instead of shaking it. I can only think of one other person who has ever done that to me and the effect is still the same…an irrepressible smile that lasts for hours.

As I turned into my gate, I realized that these demonstrations were reflecting the changes I’ve been making to my inner world through self-care. I realized that didn’t need these gentlemen to validate me as a precious and appreciated woman…I was already doing that for myself. However, their reflection demonstrate that I’m doing all the right things because these are the results I am seeking. Additionally, their reflections were not the source of my joy, appreciation, and feelings of being cherished. Rather, they added to those emotions I already was filling within…their additions causing me to overflow in abundance of joy, appreciation, and feeling cherished. I realized that from this place of overflowing abundance, I have plenty to share with others. This is the gift of personal responsibility…abundance.

And then I expressed gratitude.

As you move through this week, filled with all kinds of potentials for pitfalls and expectations and emotional roller-coasters, I invite you to consider that shifting your perspective and stories about your life and the world around you. If you don’t particularly like the results that are reflected back to you from the outer world, start by looking within. Look for those places where you have neglected yourself, or abandoned yourself, or closed off from yourself, or haven’t appreciated yourself. Then look for ways that you can meet those needs that you are hoping someone else will meet for you. Incorporate these ways into your daily life, without expectations for particular or specific results. In this way, you can then keep your eyes open to all the unexpected results that the Universe will reflect to you…for it will. It always does. When you recognize it, express gratitude…even if adjustments are needed. If they are, make them and keep going…no judgments ..no criticisms…just love…on you, for you.

And so it is.