Because of the valentine’s festive day, signs of love seemed to be everywhere in the last few weeks. From chocolate, to couple meal set, or gifts like flowers, jewelry… Everything screams “you must have/get a partner!”
Only not everyone gets a partner. Sometimes the happiest day can remind us of the love which is gone, or the people we have lost. And looking at the romantic decorations only pushes us closer to facing the truth that we have no love.
See, the society can sometimes be a bit misleading. Indeed finding your loved one is a beautiful thing, but not having a partner does not mean you are doomed, pathetic and have no one to love.
There are a couple of things I have learnt during these days, and I hope to share them with you.
- Valentine’s Day is not just about romance. It’s our love for everyone around us – our friends, families, neighbors…
Love is not just about romance. We feel love everyday because of the different people around us. A small thing, a kind act is already the best demonstration of love – a caring text/message, a cooking meal, or lending you a hand when you struggle at work…All these different kinds of love enrich our lives. Friendship is one rare relationship which acknowledges equality and respect over the racial, cultural, gender, age, class and religious differences. And for our families – “Blood is thicker than water”. Parents’ protective instincts for their offspring and sons/daughters’ natural craving for parental love and support are powerful illustrations of love which do not require any logical explanation. It’s a good time we express our gratitude instead of taking them for granted.
- We do not just feel love on the Valentine’s Day. Love is everywhere and on everyday – 365 days a year.
A friend once joked, “The whole point about the Valentine’s Day is that couples exclaim their love and devotion, and for the rest 364 days of the year they turn their backs on each other.” Underneath the sarcasm I think there is some truth in it. Love is not something which is merely acted out due to a special occasion, or out of impulse. It is a continuous devotion to working on the relationship. People change according to the different things they encounter in life, and their relationship with the other is constantly shaped into the different forms. And that’s why love is not just an expression of feeling. To get into the inner depth of love, we must work and be committed to it. Say, we do not understand the meaning of compromise without going through from conflict to resolution. Or acceptance of another half is only based on the superficial positivity until we discover the weakness and mistakes, and we learn a great deal to re-love the person. Such level of commitment refers to not just a day in a year, but every day.
- It is ok to be sad and lonely sometimes on this day, because everyone does want the “true love”.
Love is the fundamental block in life. No matter how much we try to reject the traditional notion of “true love”, we cannot deny its existence in our lives. On the Valentine’s day I was amazed to find a couple of anti-Valentine social events happening in town. “We shall not be controlled by the mainstream media on brainwashing us with the whole Valentine idea.” For those who do feel sad and lonely, or even impatient and frustrated, I think it is ok we do feel that way. It is indeed true that we all want to be cared and loved somehow, and so why not acknowledge it? We only begin to deny and reject true love because we do not expect it to be found anymore – and it is built upon our original expectation and seeking of it.
I believe that our belief in love stems from “how much we are willing to love” than “how much we expect others to love us”. If we wait for love to arrive and bring us happiness, we can never control what we receive and only blame the bad results due to the life circumstances. Or if we learn to give instead of take, care instead of demand, then we experience the meaningful lessons of love day by day, and we become given much more than we expect.
- Sometimes we need a bit of empowerment to love, as well as to letting go.
Loving someone is never an easy thing – it sounds such huge thing! We are insecure and uneasy from the new experiences and unknown future – what will happen? For those with previous bad experiences, entering a relationship can be even harder sometimes – what if I get hurt again? What do we do if I cannot commit? Sometimes we only realize what the real meaning of love/relationship is when we are in the experience itself. To love or not to love is a choice, a decision made when we are still unclear and confused, yet we are willing to commit and begin the journey with another person.
Ending love is no less easier thing. Break ups are hard, and it can be so difficult for us to see the world not the same anymore. Every outer cue may remind us of so many of memories shared, from the small things like a coffee mug, or big things like the neighborhood the two used to walk through together. The sad part is that it is not the environment which has changed. It is just the person in it which is gone in our lives, and we are not able to let the images go. And still life moves on, and we need to move on.
To love or to let go of love, we all need a bit of empowerment to do so. Sometimes we just need a trigger, and perhaps that’s how the Valentine spirit exists in the first place. However, aside the external festive stimulator, what makes us stronger is a bit of courage, honesty and hope in self.
As going through the writing, I have been tempted to just put down the laptop and take action. Indeed love is not just about expressing or giving a speech. The deeper meaning of it is the act itself. I once learn from someone how a massive heartbroken experience has forced her to get involved in the different new life experiences to keep her mind busy, yet at the end, she found her passion via attending to those in need, and finding meaning via giving. We can define our own meaning of love – it can be anytime, anywhere and on anyone – as long as we are willing to take action.
May we all take an extra step to make our love act happen.
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