This passed weekend, many people around the world celebrated Valentine's Day. For some, it was serious business involving intricate planning, gifts, flowers, surprises, dinners, trips and grand gestures of love. For some, it was an intimate affair with a home-cooked meal and a good movie. Some gave their children a little extra attention. Some gave their parents a call. Some texted hearts and happy emojis to their friends. Some didn't really care, and some would rather have seen it removed from the calendar year.
I have no opinions on the opinions about Valentine's Day, but since February 14th is recognized as Valentine's day in many parts of the world, I want to take this opportunity (though a few days late) to share some love-related thoughts.
Love plays such a central role in many people's lives, whether it be romantic love, love of children, love of family, love of friends or all the above. With such an engulfing and exposing emotion, no wonder love can both heal and hurt.
We learn to love from a very early age, we love our parents, grandparents and/or friends. So, from a very early age, we are vulnerable to being hurt, maybe by a secret our first BFF promised never to tell, or by a parent who couldn't make it to a recital. As we grow older, and perhaps have our first romantic love encounter, that experience will usually also translate into our very first soul-wrenching break-up.
Eventually we might find our soulmate, the one who completes us and makes the world make sense. But we know, for a lot of people, that soulmate will be the most hurtful relationship they will ever have. Many will start families, and bring new life into the world. The love for their children is unlike any other love and with that comes enough worry and fear to last a lifetime.
We lose people we love. They grow old or their lives are cut short by sickness, accidents or other forces at play. Unhealthy love can trap people in abusive relationships and it can be a life-shattering force of destruction.
We don't know the outcome when we love. We just love. And when we love completely and wholeheartedly, without holding back, we expose everything that we are, and leave ourselves naked in the hands of the person we love. We trust them with our dreams, hopes and happiness and trust that they will keep all of it, and ultimately us, safe. When you give away that much power, you leave yourself vulnerable to be hurt, in ways that are unparalleled. And yet, most us us, long to love and love to love.
Sometimes, especially in this day and age, our world can seem to be a scary place. We are encouraged to toughen up, to be prepared, so that we can defend ourselves, against the many things that can attack us and is out to harm us. But in reality, fear and anger is pretty easy, it doesn't take much courage to be afraid. Love on the other hand, takes real bravery. So if you're a person who love, have loved or is able to love, when you get up in the morning and get ready to step into the world, remember how brave you are, and that real bravery comes from having the courage to love and to trust.