With February coming up, I wanted to write about the importance of love. When mentioning the word, there are different images that are conjured. The loving touch of a friend, a word of reassurance from a stranger, gifts from an admirer or the overarching nostalgia one feels when exposed to an out-of-this world experience. Whichever the case, love can be expressed and felt in an infinite amount of ways.
Being single myself, I am well aware of the anxiety and sadness that can occur amongst my peers who are without romantic partners. Having the authority of one of these “single” individuals, I wanted to take some time to encourage you today.
Love is everywhere. It is not just given romantically. And it is not just received as such either. In high school, I was hyper aware of the fact that my locker neighbor had often received four or five gifts every other hour, while I had received only one — from my mother. But, is that so bad? A radical statement to say in a time when romantic relationships are highly encouraged, I am aware, but I will repeat the question boldly. Is that so bad? As we often see in the news, one positive act of kindness has the power to outshine much of the darkness that is experienced today. Kindness is a byproduct of love. What if we allow the love we receive from our friends, parents, grandparents, and others to outshine the potential loneliness we may feel this Valentine’s Day? What if the love we receive is just as powerful as the romance we so crave?
It saddens me to witness so many believe they are incapable of receiving romantic love. Make no mistake, you are worthy. And I am not criticizing romantic love either. I believe it is powerful in and of itself. But because love is infinite, you are also capable of experiencing it in numerous other ways that can equally fill that need. The need to know you are cared for by someone other than yourself. And, that you can also care for someone who feels the same way.
Do not underestimate the power of love. I have experienced it many times throughout my life and can attest that the love I have received through family and friends have acted as a beacon of hope during my darkest days.
Embrace your friendships, visit your grandparents and hold tight those closest to you. Smile at a neighbor and ask someone you don’t know how they are doing. You may just touch someone and not even know it. Powerful are the words of a friend and the written form of texts that encourage. Though these acts may be small, they, in themselves, can last for eternity. And how special it is to partake in an eternal act of self-giving love and receive it in full!
Do not be afraid to receive such affection as well. Maybe you have been hurt. I know this pain well-to have exposed yourself to the love of another, only to have been betrayed or hurt in the end. It is so difficult because to partake in love, one must give himself or herself over to another. It’s a dance, and when there is discord, it can rattle the strongest of spirits.
For a time, I refused to open myself up. But I learned that to miss out on the harmony of affection is a greater loss than taking a chance to acquire it. When I observed the alternative of the pain of the absence of love, I realized how much greater it is when it’s present, whichever type came my way.
Friendships are enjoyable and life is too difficult to try to battle the storms alone. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in between, this will always stand true. This year embrace the love you already have. Let’s redefine Valentine’s Day and see it as a time to celebrate not only our partners, but also our comrades who have chosen to walk through life with us. Without offering a ring, they have stood by our sides and shielded us from the many evils that have tried to touch us.
Open yourself up to this truth and receive the affection you have been given. Let’s express our gratitude beyond mere chocolates and flowers. Let’s hug freely, laugh abundantly, compliment recklessly, until we can all stand a little straighter and smile a little larger.
It is possible for “singles” to celebrate love during Valentine’s Day! And, I say “singles” in quotations, because in reality, with loving friends and family, no one is ever really “single.” We are all surrounded by love, one way or another. Having the capability to love, you should feel free to celebrate it, even if romance is out of the picture. After all, love is infinite. And having one part of love means having it all.