A celebration of love
Happy love month to all of my lovely readers! February is in fact upon us and with that comes a sea of pink and red. Every which way I turn I’m running into heart shaped candies, red roses or literally any object adorned with the word love. As a society we sure do love to romanticize the idea of romantic love (forgive me if there’s one too many puns in that last sentence). Before I go any further I want to make clear that I am in no way trying to diminish the greatness of romantic love. Your girl heads straight for the romance section in any bookstore and can unashamedly binge watch rom coms on Netflix. I’m a big believer that when done right, romantic love is a beautiful thing— a beautiful thing worth celebrating. So believe me when I say I’m all here for the red hearts and the giant teddy bears. With that being said, the one thing that I don’t love about this time of year is the fixation on romantic love. The ridiculous idea that if on February 14th we’re not in a romantic relationship with somebody then we’re loved any less than someone who is. The fact of the matter is, love comes in all different shapes and sizes. And maybe it can be easy for us to lose sight of the other forms that love takes in our lives when the focus is so heavily rested on romantic love, but I think it would be an absolute shame to do so. So let’s change that.
Let’s start with the simple fact that as humans, love is something that we all need. I think that nowadays we tend to believe one of two misconceptions. We tend to believe that love is hurtful and we are better off without it, or we believe that love is the perfect fix and we need a certain type of love to survive. I beg to differ. It hurts my heart to hear people say that love is so painful that it’s not worth pursuing, or the classic go to “love does not exist”. It is equally painful to watch people fixate so much of their attention on romantic love that they lose sight of all the other ways that love fills their lives. When I think of love, and all that it encompasses, it seems boundless. To me, love is so big and so broad, that when I hear these comments I wonder how such a huge concept has become so narrow to some people.
Love is boundless. Even I’d say that is a pretty bold statement, but it’s one that I’m confident in making because love does take on so many different forms. When I think love I’m thinking the love of friends, the love of family, self love, and yes we can even throw romantic love into the mix. Look how much easier it is to find love if we’re willing to look in so many different places; how much more abundant it is if we’re willing to place on it fewer constraints. I think sometimes we can get so wrapped up in what we think love should look like that we fail to notice the ways in which it is manifesting in our lives.
Look how much easier it is to find love if we’re willing to look in so many different places
We need to realize that sometimes love is not loud. There are different ways to say I love you. “Put your seatbelt on”, “text me when you get home”, “did you eat today”, “how was your day”. Our lips do not only express the sentiment by those three little words, but by the several that pass through them each and every day. But are we listening? We need to realize that sometimes love is not big. There are different ways to show I love you. A homemade meal, a clean room, a random phone call. Our actions do not have to be flashy to be meaningful. But are we watching? The thing is if we’re waiting for the loud, the big, the flashy shows of affection then we’re missing out on the ways in which I love you is whispered to us every single day through so many different lips. And if that’s the case, think of all the love lost.
If you’ve been following along with my posts thus far, you’ve probably come to realize that I’m really big on perspective. Everything, and I do mean everything, looks different when it’s displayed through differing lenses. So, to wrap up this post I want to talk a bit about what changed my perspective when it came to how I viewed how much love is present in my life. I’d first like to acknowledge the fact that I feel so grateful and lucky to be loved in the ways that I am. I know that not everyone has the privilege of being surrounded by a loving family and caring friends. Having these people in my life is something that I strive really hard to not take for granted. With that being said, I will admit that there was a point during college where I was having difficulty acknowledging the presence of love in my life. I was fixated on the attention of one or two people, and if I didn’t feel loved by them at any given moment, I felt “unloved”. At this time I was lucky enough to come across an activity that had to do with exploring one’s social support system. As I worked through this activity my attention was drawn towards all of the amazingly supportive friends and family members that were present in my life. Seeing so many names of people who genuinely cared about me served as a great reminder of just how much I was loved at that very moment. It made me feel foolish for ever neglecting the presence of the people who cared about me most. I’ll get into detail about the activity at the end of the post for anyone who might be interested in trying it out. If you’re having a tough time recognizing the abundance of love that might be present in your life I’d highly recommend trying it out. It changed everything for me.
Don’t let the lure of a greater love, take away from the love you have right now
In some way, shape or form, we're all walking through life alongside others. Don’t take that for granted. Don’t let the lure of a greater love, take away from the love you have right now. Acknowledge it. Appreciate it. Celebrate it. Love comes, and sometimes love goes, but don’t allow love to be lost on account of not opening your eyes to what’s right in front of you. I’m a big fan of love. And I think the world needs more of it. That’s why I think it should be celebrated in all it’s different forms. So if this Valentine’s day that means going out to dinner with some close friends, do it. If that means bringing a box of chocolates home to your parents, do it. If that means buying flowers for yourself and putting them up in your room, do it. And do all these things whether or not you’re in a romantic relationship at this very moment. We can let both the lust for that relationship, or the fact we have it, cloud our perspective. On the contrary, we can choose to step back and bask in it all. Bask in the love, let it consume us and let it be boundless.
Social Support Activity:
This activity is comprised of a list of statements. After reading each statement, write down the name(s) of the people/person that you have in your life that you think would do for you what the statement says. These people can be friends, roommates, family members, coworkers, really anyone who you think would do any of the following for you:
- Lend you $20 in a pinch
- Give you a ride to somewhere you have to be
- Go to dinner with you
- Give you advice that you can trust
- Listen to your problems
- Be a person who allows you to be yourself
- Buy you a gift on your birthday
- Do an activity with you
- Make time for you
Once you've gone through the list of statements, take a look at the names you've written down. You might be surprised to see just how many people you have in your corner.