Valentine’s Day… It Is The Best Of Times, It Is The Worst Of Times

Have you ever tried recalling your first memory? In this day and age of social media and digital pictures, it’s easy to go back and trigger a past memory. In my generation, we were lucky if we had a printed photograph to spark some nostalgia.

I can’t seem to pinpoint my first memory. Most of my memories of childhood are more like snippets of photos on a collage. I see myself but can’t place the time or place. But one clear memory I do have is when I rode a bicycle for the first time. It was a typical banana yellow bike. Not the big chopper handles, more like the classic ones. I couldn’t have been more excited. There was a small hill in the backyard that provided the momentum to keep the bike upright. And I clearly remember the 30 feet or so I traveled before taking a hard spill (no helmet back then). My sister had a harder time. She needed training wheels for a long time. I remember this like it was yesterday.

Fast forwarding forty-years from that exciting trip down a hill and you’ll find a person who forgot how to ride a bike. Along the way, I lost the essence of who I was. My identity has been built on a foundation of attachments. Objects purchased. Jobs obtained. Trophies won. Partners lost.

Since that exciting day as a 5-year-old, I’ve been seeking clarity about who I am. Or what I am. It’s been a constant battle between confidence, impostor syndrome, insecurity, and validation. Thinking back to these simpler, more innocent times gives me a rush of happiness. I envy the boy who was able to just ride a bicycle and be present.


What Defines Us?

As Eckhart Tolle explains in A New Earth, the “ego identifies with ‘having’, but its satisfaction in having is a relatively shallow and short-lived one.” The words “I am not enough yet” often bounce around in our mind like a skipping record. We count on externalities to stoke this validation.

This constant struggle with ‘having’ is not isolated to material goods. Friendships, either platonic or romantic provide further validation to the self. I would venture that relationships provide the most empirical feedback to our ego. They reinforce that we are good enough. For every person that loves us, we gain further proof that we are good enough to love.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being in a relationship. I have lived with several girlfriends over the years. When I think back, those relationships never had a chance because of the need they were fulfilling. They were providing the validation that I was good enough for someone to love. Like repeatedly filling a parking meter, my ego needed regular romantic validation.

While I did love the girls I was with, my love was conditional. It fed off this validation. Until I lost the need for this validation, my relationships were built on this foundation of ego.


We Need To Lose All Attachment

My friend Hanifa wrote an article ‘When Self Love Matters The Most’. It provided a female’s perspective on this difficult time for many people (i.e., Valentines Day). It included the platitude that many people repeat to themselves, “when I meet the love of my life I will be happy.”

The short answer is ‘No you won’t’. Finding the love of our lives won’t be the key to happiness if you haven’t figured out how to be happy in this moment. The real truth is both easy and hard. When you are ‘ready’ to meet the love of your life you will be happy. This implies that we don’t even need to meet ‘the one’ to be happy… easy. Being ready to meet the love if your life, however… hard.

Before we can be vested in a relationship, we must lose the need to be attached. We can’t use the relationship to provide something beyond an enrichment of our experience in that moment. This doesn’t mean that losing that person wouldn’t hurt. Far from it. It just means that while you would feel the pain of losing your partner, it would be due to the void caused from losing the experiences they provided – sharing, loving, laughing. As opposed to an egoic need to feel validated or good enough.


So On This Valentines Day

We’re all on a spiritual journey of self-awareness. While the ego to some degree will always be a passenger on our journey, the goal is to diminish its impact. As we consciously evolve to be more comfortable in our own skin, we will learn to accept love, without judgment. We will lose the need for the validation of our worth that a relationship ostensibly provides.

If you’re alone this Valentines Day, don’t feel less worthy because you’re not sharing flowers on February 14th. Take it as an opportunity to assess where you are on your journey. Take the opportunity to get to know yourself a little better. Take the opportunity to shake the attachment to the items, and people that may have been providing the validation your ego has been craving. Be it symbolic or tangible, it may provide the catalyst for being ‘ready’ for the love of your life.

Lose the self-judgment. Accept where you’re at in life. This is where you’re meant to be. There is no good or bad. There just is. Trying to imagine an alternate reality in a parallel universe with the love of your life, while an entertaining exercise, won’t serve you. You are where you were destined to be. Embrace it. Learn to be comfortable with this place. Acknowledge that your place is no better or worse than any of the other seven billion humans walking this earth. Only then will you be able to share your journey with someone else.

My spiritual evolution is in full swing. I’m confident that soon I’ll be barreling down that hill again, grinning from ear to ear, energized by every foot of progress I make. I look forward to experiencing a whole new way to move forward, with a life partner, and looking back and saying ‘Look, mom, no training wheels.”

Author Description

Gary LeBlanc

Gary LeBlanc is recognized as an international thought leader in coaching individuals towards their purpose. Although Gary found success in the corporate world, his former career as a Vice President for a Fortune 500 company left him searching for his own purpose. When a close friend got diagnosed with cancer 8 years ago, Gary realized that health & wellness was more than just an interest, it was his passion. He has spent the better part of 20 years researching the latest diet, health, and fitness trends. As CEO of Ikkuma Inc., Gary is focused on living his purpose by helping people find their SuperHuman. A McGill University engineering and MBA graduate, Gary is also a certified coach practitioner, personal trainer, and most recently a published author, with his book titled ‘Ikkuma: Evolution of Vitality’. Follow Gary on Instagram & Twitter @ikkumagary/@IkkumaGary, Facebook, and his website

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