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February – the month of Love. Interesting that as a society, we find it necessary to dedicate particular segments of time during the year, to focus on important aspects of our lives, which we should essentially be focusing on every day. So because Valentines Day falls on the 14th February, we dedicate Love to February and Christmas in December, and so we focus on goodwill and kindness around that time of the year and so on.

We’ve all heard it said that Love is the answer to everything. My one absolute favourite discourse in the Bible is where Jesus is saying farewell to his disciples. In John 13:34 he says : “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Verse 13:35 goes on to say “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” We know that one of the 10 Commandments is to love your neighbour as yourself – therein a whole different discussion, particularly if you’re not capable of really loving yourself. But, perhaps that’s something that we should be working on especially because we if don’t love ourselves then how can we love others? And in not loving ourselves and being unable to love others, especially unconditionally, perhaps that’s how we create so much hardship and pain for each other. Think about it…

If we were to work really hard at loving unconditionally, then surely we would be making the world a better place. All judgements, misconceptions and misaligned preconceptions would be dimished or totally discarded. A new understanding of our fellow humans would begin to emerge and we would find ourselves being so much more patient, kind, forgiving, accommodating, helpful, compassionate and accepting of others. And that behaviour has to filter down to ourselves. I know that in all teachings, we should be showing ourselves all these beautiful acts of kindness so that they can filter out into the world, but there’s a chance that we may just find it easier to do it the other way around. I imagine when we start to see all the positive effects of the behaviours of others when we practise unconditional love, that we will automatically become softened in our behaviours towards ourselves.

It’s not about lowering our expectations because at all times we need to have the highest of expectations of ourselves from ourselves and it is in learning to communicate those expections that we have of others, that we will reap the rewards.

So is it only Love that is the answer, or Communication the absolute answer?

I’m sure I’ve said this before (I know my guide has many times), as a human race, we absolutely suck at communication. We fail all the time to express our needs and expectations, particularly because as children we are taught that we shouldn’t be selfish. And we see the act of expressing our desires, our wants and needs, to be selfish. We also however, fail to see that in not expressing ourselves and in failing to communicate clearly to those around us, we do ourselves a disservice. We simply don’t honour ourselves in any way.

Recoginising this shortcoming in ourselves, we are obligated as parents, partners, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and the like, to teach our children that it’s okay to express your feelings and it’s okay to say what you need from someone and to tell others how you feel when they act in certain ways. It’s important we teach each other that honest, clear communication should be absolute key to everything in our lives. That way we will see that practising unconditional love will become so much easier and much more a part of who we are.

My one absolute message to everyone today is to love one another as Jesus loved and to make that a part of who you are. Be brave. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Allow yourself to be rejected. And just as importantly, allow yourself to be accepted. Put out your hand and receive the love from others that you expect but at the same time, reach out your hand and extend the love to others that you expect from them.

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