For some, Valentine’s Day may be a day for grand gestures and boxes of chocolate—but it’s also a good reminder to pause and reflect on the relationships you value in your life. Whether it be with colleagues, friends, or a spouse, we can all benefit from taking a step back, appreciating the love we have in our lives, and making the time to show others we care about them.
By paying attention to the ever-present potential for care, kindness, and trust, we can kindle the warmth of connection—with ourselves and with all to whom we extend our love. As mindfulness teacher Elisha Goldstein writes, “Mindfulness helps us to wake up to the ‘choice points’ in our relationships when we can decide to connect a bit more by listening, communicating, and allowing our hearts to open.” Ultimately, we can know we are inherently connected not only to our dearest ones, but to all other beings, no matter the distance.
Here are three simple ways you can deepen your relationships:
- Fall in love with yourself. To connect more deeply with others, we must face the one person that we keep on the shortest leash: ourselves. We often reject other people’s care or attention when we believe we don’t deserve it—but there’s nothing special you must do to deserve love. As Sharon Salzberg reminds us, you are enough simply because you exist. Follow this 15-minute guided meditation to open your heart toward giving and receiving love.
- Keep the lines of communication open. When we bring mindfulness into our conversations with loved ones, we can let go of defensive attitudes and instead settle into curiosity and groundedness. We begin by noticing the ways we respond and communicate with others and from there, we can open up to more honest and compassionate communication. Try this simple practice to recognize your habits in conversation so you can be more present with the people you love.
- Remember the little things. Strengthening your relationship with someone doesn’t require an elaborate date or weekend-long outing. Small gestures—like making eye contact, or following through on plans—can be just as impactful over time. Explore these 11 ways you can foster connection and create deep bonds with the people in your life.