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By Joanna Kleovoulou, Clinical Psychologist

The song of Tina Turner “What’s LOVE got to do with it?” is the theme for this month.

With yet another Valentine’s coming up, with couples’ expectations to give the right gift; anxious anticipation of a possible date by the singles out there, and the broken-hearted who are reminded of lost love – Valentine’s Day can stir up more angst at this time than remembering what this LOVE thing is all about.

So although we have heard many self-help books profess to love ourselves before we can let the love in, (and it has much merit no doubt), we forget that love does not move or is not created by a one-way traffic only. Love is a synergy of self and another, so to access true intimacy, is recognising our interactional response to others, in order to love ourselves deeper and more authentically we need to engage. The gift of being intimate, is exactly the notion of having the courage to let go of our defences, our emotional walls that keep us in our comfort zone – and imprisoned – to allow the freedom and the permission to love yourself and another in a deep and authentic way.

The only way out is through relationships.

Harville Hendrix, a Couple’s Therapist Specialist, stated, “I’ve found that we tend to be ashamed of our most unique, passionate and iconoclastic parts. These aspects of ourselves threaten our safety; but they are the direct path to love and, not incidentally, to personal greatness. When we suppress these challenging gifts, we’re left with a sense of emptiness and loneliness.“

So identify the GEMS – the people – whom you already have in your life, that give you the permission to express your true self; and practise on them by giving more of yourself and breaking those emotional walls, in order to attract someone romantically that allows for the same.

And if you believe you do not have those in your life, become still… stop… and for a moment recognise that you are surrounded by LOVE, and embraced by the trees, comforted by the sweet scent of the flowers, and caressed by the breeze. And let it all in.

You are love.

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