Reflections on Love

The week of Valentine’s Day seems to be a nice time to reflect on love. If you are in a romantic relationship you may have certain expectations regarding Valentine’s Day.

St. Valentine  was reportedly imprisoned and sentenced to death for marrying soldiers who were forbidden to marry. He also is said to have healed the sight of his judge’s daughter, whom he wrote on the day of his execution and signed “Your Valentine.” Thus, the first Valentine card was a farewell note according to Wikapedia.

Love comes in many sizes

Today we think of Valentine’s Day as a romantic day full of flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals, and candle lit dinners. However, there are many types of love and relationships that should be celebrated, whether on Valentine’s Day or your day of choosing.

Platonic Love

One of the mainstream types of love is of course platonic love. Platonic Love is a strong yet unromantic relationship. The love between  best friends and the love of a “bromance” are thought of as platonic relationships. This type of love is often celebrated and acknowledged as one tends to cherish the relationship and makes attempts to nurture it.

Love of Community and Culture

Another type of love is that of one’s community or culture. We are proud of our heritage and “where we are from”. We celebrate our ethnicity with special events, dressing in traditional garb, and eating foods associated with our countries of origin. Love of our community or culture helps us feel a part of something. We belong to this group, this tribe. If you are ever feeling lonely, this is a good way to find people with whom you can bond on a broad basis.

Love for Material Things

Often we find ourselves enamored with the pursuit of money, wealth, big houses, fine clothing, jewelry, or vehicles. While these things bring joy, they sometimes lack the substance we seek and even with success one may feel empty. It is a good idea to review your relationship with “things” every now and then. This is an area that can cause stress and anxiety.

Familial Love

Another type of love is that of Family. You are born with a network of people with whom you are supposed to feel bonded due to blood and often being “stuck” with them for your first X number of years. Whether you like them or not, they are your family and you “love them”. You do certain things because of those relationships…because “they’re family.” Usually those relationships are unbalanced for whatever reason. The relationships of Family members is often the cause of much happiness and much pain. Most families are messed up and have problems of one type or another. So be happy with the love you have and receive from your family, but do not let it be the only support system or  the only love you seek.

Spiritual  / Unconditional Love

Spiritual Love or Unconditional Love is the type of love we see in those who are altruistic or charitable in life. The person who “takes care” of their elderly neighbor or a homeless person without any expectation of recognition. The compassionate, giving moments of one’s day when we smile at a stranger or open the door for someone, are generally unconditional expressions of love.  Some people seem to have a tremendous ability to express unconditional love, yet other’s seem to be so wrapped up in their own lives. Sometimes we are not able to show unconditional love because we have little of the last type of love I am going to discuss today…

Self Love

All the love in the world does one no good if he / she does not have self love. This is the key to having a full enough heart that you can share yourself and your assets with others. If you are afraid of not having enough or you do not feel love yourself it is often because there is a lack of self love.

There are many reasons why one may not have self love. It could be from a perception that one was treated poorly growing up or that other’s have done things that are abhorrible, which leads to poor self-worth. If this sounds familiar to you, it might be time to start taking care of yourself and start believing that you deserve love.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a good place to start if you feel you do not deserve love. Find a professional who can help you work through this because you do deserve love. We all deserve to celebrate our selves, our community, friends, family, success as well as failures, and of course our significant others.

Celebrate Love This  Week

Happy Valentines Day!