Love, what does it mean?
How does one define love? If you were to look up the word love in the dictionary you would mostly discover it as the deep connection and affection between two or more individuals. But love stems deeper than our connection with an intimate partner or a family member.
Love is an extraordinary gift we have as human beings. We have the ability to feel, express, and exude love on so many levels, whether it’s with a partner, a friend, a nephew, a coworker, a stranger, an animal, a location, or even an inanimate object.
Right now, can you name 10 people, places, or things, that you absolutely and unconditionally love?
Within those 10 love connections, did you think about naming yourself?
For a long time I had a personal qualm with February, and more specifically, Valentines Day, being deemed the holiday of “love.” When I was in a relationship, Valentine’s Day was cheesy, fun, and cute. But when I wasn’t, it was a painful and belittling experience internally. Currently I am in a very lovely and beautiful relationship, and I look forward to spending February 14th with my love. But I also recognized Valentine’s Day as being a commercialized holiday created to sell greeting cards, chocolate, and flowers.
I grew up a hopeless romantic. I dreamt about meeting the “one” early on in my childhood, and fantasized about him being the boy next-door. But that boy never showed up so I sought him out in high school classes, weekend soccer tournaments, college lectures, and dating apps. I’ve had lovely relationships, and not-so healthy ones. Relationships have come and gone. But what has always been there, through thick and thin, is my relationship with myself. And what has helped me foster a stronger sense of internal self love was when my external sense of love was lost.
I now understand that this desire I had to meet my Prince Charming in my early year, reveals to me how much the media and society has defined and validated love as an external concept.
I now vow to devote myself to self love and self care on a consistent basis. When it comes down to it, self care is self love.
I’ve spent the last couple of years diving deeper into myself. Understanding what lights me up, what sparks passion inside of me, and what drives my soul. I also have come to understand what is toxic to my self, what pains me, and what triggers me. I’ve also worked hard and am still working on understanding what my soul deeply values, and deconstructing those (sometimes unreasonable) values that were deeply engrained in me at a young age. I aim to challenge myself through uncomfortable situations, facing fears, and stepping outside of my norm. This self-love journey has been one of trial and tribulation, ebb and flow. It has been a beautiful and never-ending experience.
Whether I am in a relationship or not, I now look at Valentines Day as a reminder of a truer sense of love. At the heart of it, when we have a deep sense of love for ourself, then everything else that exist on this plane of existence, is love. Love is a beautiful and infinite concept. It is both difficult to explain but so simple to feel. It is both joy and sorrow. It comes and it goes. But self-love is the deepest and most unconditional experience we can have.
So let’s transform Valentines Day from a day of intimate love between two partners, to a day of infinite love between thy self and the infinite possibilities, spaces, energetics, and souls of our finite experience. I am love. You are love. These words are love. The plant sitting next to your desk is love. The stranger opening the door for you is love. This world is full of love.
**Image by DaltonJohnsonMedia**