Love Beyond the Valentine….
Love, defined by the Webster online dictionary is “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person; an attraction that includes physical desire or the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship.” I’ve also heard love referred to as a verb, an action or way of behavior. It’s no secret that I am head over heels in love with my husband David. He is my heart, soul and the love of my life. Our love is just that, it’s ours and completely different from the love we have for other people. But our love is just one piece of our life’s puzzle. Love surrounds us in varying ways.
Believing that sharing our feelings for one another is important I often find myself embracing a friend with a hug and telling them that I love them. I love to love people. It is important to share your feelings and express our love for one another. By doing so it validates our relationships, and opens ourselves up not only to give but to receive the love we were created to share with one another.
American poet and greeting card producer Susan Polis Schutz wrote a poem entitled “Love is” where she explores the many facets of love including strength, reality, unity, the source of success, of the future, of passion, sharing, security and ultimately the source of life…” Reading through the entire poem I find myself thankful for the love in my life and the reality that love is exactly all of these things in various capacities and degrees of intensity with those I share various pieces of life with.
So why are we hesitant to express our love for one another? Is it because we fear the vulnerability we face when we open ourselves up to the intensity of love in a relationship? Is it because we believe love is only romantic? And what about the love we have for ourselves? Do we believe that we should love ourselves? The concept of self-love is a relatively new experience for me personally. Learning to love myself is a process; something that I continue to work on daily. The image in the mirror surprises me sometimes as I become used to the physical changes taking place, however it is the non-physical changes that I love most. Self-love I believe is an essential element to loving others.
American author Jack Kornfield wrote “At the end of life, our questions are very simple: Did I live fully? Did I love well?” Living fully and loving well I believe go together like potato chips and dip, hot dogs and mustard, beer and pretzels, wine and cheese…you get the idea. As a matter of fact, I’m not so sure one can live fully without loving well or loving well without living fully. Life is meant to be lived in community, with others, for others and in relationships that bring about what my friend Carole would call “the good stuff”. It is important to experience the varying degrees (types) of love and be able to express that love freely and openly with others. Nike has a slogan “Just Do It” and quite often I think we should adopt that attitude when expressing our love for one another. Just say it. Tell those around you that you love them and actually love them. Show them you love them. Be present. Be open, honest and vulnerable allowing them to love you back.
As a parent the love we have for our children goes beyond anything we could ever have imagined. At times it’s like our heart is walking around outside our body and sometimes it’s wonderful and other times it hurts. Either way it’s one of the greatest loves we could ever know. The love we have for our spouse or partner is equally as wonderful but completely different; it’s still love. The love we have for our friends, those friends who in spite of our differences love us anyway is deep and precious and completely different for each one of them; and although it’s different it’s still love.
In trying to sum up the idea of love and what it means I believe that love is perfect. It’s perfect because it is the one thing that seems to cure so many things. It is what we crave as people. It is as essential as air, water, and food for our very existence. I would say many problems we face as human beings can be traced back to a lack of love. This week I encourage you to look beyond the Valentine and share the love you have for others openly and intentionally. Love is meant to be expressed, given and received. Author David Viscott wrote “To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides”. Live fully. Love completely. Just do it!
Peace & love,
I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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