For a while now, I have been questioning myself as to what deeper meaning I should give this day. And one day, it finally struck me like lightning; the day one very gifted unusual young man asked me: “What do you think life is really about?” The only answer that came to me was that life could only be about love. True love, not in a romantic sense, but in a much deeper sense. Apart from that, life made no sense to me.
We tend to think it is an emotion, often demonstrated through actions, but really, love is an impulse that governs the whole universe. As an impulse, love is who we are so much more than what we feel. Feelings go away, but our inherent nature is indestructible. We are addicted to love because we are love. When we receive love, or an expression of love, it is a reflection of our own being. And that reflection looks and feels like home.
Just look around you, and try to figure out who really needs love. The world, but more specifically your direct environment, is filled with sad people, lonely people, people who eat frozen dinners alone at night, people who maybe only have their pet to talk to. Maybe these deserve your love. Maybe these should be the ones to receive chocolates, or flowers, today.
I've spent a big part of my adulthood in relationships, yet feeling very lonely, and on bad days, I would pray that someday, someone would relieve me of the unhappiness I've carried around much of my life. Today, I constantly try to remind myself that "relationship status" isn't a miracle cure; indeed, there are plenty of people in my life who are married, or in a relationship, and are lonely.So, think about it this way, life is really not about romance, butterflies in the stomach and weak knees at the thought of someone “special”. Because if that was the case, no one would ever get anything done! Swiss-French author Alain de Botton wrote “What we typically call love is only the start of love. And one of the cruelest games we play on young couples is suggesting this transitory state is supposed to last.”
Back in ancient times, people would never have married for love. They considered it too unstable. They married for money. They married for land. Yet, if I do get married, I hope it's for love. Because I think a companionship based on respect and deep affection is a noble goal. At the same time, I know many of my previous relationships were corrupted by my own unrealistic expectations, forged over the years by the soft fictions of pop songs and romantic comedies that only show you the beginning. But most of all, my whole perception of love was biased by the example I had at home as a child: the relation of two parents who had rather egoistically built a bubble around themselves, and lived away from the rest of the world, making it look like that was the only kind of viable love.
Therefore, Valentine's Day was always just another opportunity to see how I was failing in my own love life. And my focus on romantic love, and all it was supposed to deliver, kept me away from all the other kinds of love I could have in my life. The walks and laughs with friends. The long conversations on the phone, or on a couch. A person who confides in me out of the blue to admit they're struggling, and sad, and I tell them I get it, and we both leave that small exchange a little lighter. A family that is so predictable that I sometimes forget to count them in my love life. On days when I feel like what I have isn't enough, I remind myself that "Loneliness does not mean one has failed, but simply that one is living." And if you are feeling blue on this holiday, I can tell you there are many people right there with you. But even better, there are also many people around you who love you deeply, truly.So, since love is the theme of the day and that we all have people in our lives that we care about, let’s think about those we know and what we can do to make their day a little brighter. I also love the idea of random acts of kindness. Valentine's Day is a perfect time to reach out to a stranger – to do something nice without expecting something in return. Try it some time. You'll like the way you feel. And you'll make someone else's day!Lastly, be good to yourself. Most of us don't do enough to take care of ourselves. If you are blue, don’t fight it. Give yourself permission to be sad. Give yourself an hour, even two, for your “Pity Party.” Then stop. Move on.I love you—three words that carry so much energy. I hope today is one you will remember. One where the love that runs this whole damn world is at center stage. I hope you feel it.