What if celebrating love were entirely about the giving, rather than the receiving? What if the whole point of a day dedicated to l’amour was to tell as many people as possible that youlove them?
What if none of them said they loved you back, and it didn’t matter? If the giving – which doesn’t in fact diminish your own personal supply of love within you no matter how much you lay out – was all that mattered?
Love originates from within. It may be sparked by a person, a place, a meal, a new outfit…we “love” lots of people and things. But it’s not them, it’s us. We are the love.
Sometimes we feel love and we wish we didn’t. It’s there, though, persistent and insistent. Especially in these moments, it’s important to remember that, regardless of its object, the feeling itself belongs to the owner. Giving it away is a choice that only magnifies its power.
Giving love can look a lot of different ways. It’s asking questions, and listening to the answers. It’s a door held open, maybe with a smile. It’s a big hug, or a warm kiss, or a home-cooked meal, or the perfect reservation. Sometimes love is saying “no” when you wish you could say “yes,” because that’s the loving response. It’s reminding a teammate that they can do it, or speaking the truth to power, or doing the next right thing after making a mess.
Love can also be candy and hearts and roses, and all the lovely things mid-February seems made of. For the giving to feel truly good, though, it can’t be part of a circle in search of completion. The circle is whole already. It’s within you, sustained by your knowledge that you are missing nothing. Giving love, and having it given to you, is about two whole circles rotating closer to each other, supporting and strengthening each other.
You don’t need your “other half.” You have it. It’s you. If you want to feel love, turn inward. It’s there, in abundance. When you feel courageous enough to share it, be generous and bold. When it’s offered to you, receive it openly and without any sense of obligation to reciprocate, knowing that it’s not an exchange. It’s a gift, and the most deserving recipient of it, regardless of its source, is you.
Photo credit: Sarah Pflug