It is February and love is in the air. It is also on every shelf and every display window. I looove Love. Not the Valentine type of love although who does not love flowers on valentine’s or a nice romantic dinner. Heck it is nice to have a valentine! I was once told by someone I was just starting to date that he thought I was more in love with love than with him. As a matter of fact, that is probably true.
One thing I really like about having the opportunity to date later in life, is the opportunity to enjoy a grownup version of love. I have to admit; I am still the dreamy type of girly girl I was when I was young. I am an idealist so of course I believe in love. I am not too proud or grownup to not enjoy dotting the “i” in my name with a heart. Does that make me immature…no it makes me playful and in love with life? In other words, it makes me a happy person.
What does that have to do with love. February is a tough month for a lot of people. Nothing can remind you of loneliness or broken hearts than to see other’s celebrate their good love fortune. The thing is that is only one version of love. The ugly kind the commercial kind that sells love to us in a one size fits all mass production for mass consumption.
And nothing is more anti-love anti-special than mass production for mass consumption.
Dating as an adult. I would like to talk about more sophisticated versions of love. Love that is not reliant on the need of another person “completing you”. First of all, if you are still subscribing to finding your “other half” or someone telling you “you complete me” or finding your “soulmate” stop reading right now. What you are speaking about is “McLove… would you like fries with that”. Loving a partner as an adult has to be the ultimate experience and the uncontested fountain of youth. Love is a conscious choice and a skill (The Art of Loving). Showing your partner that you love them in a way they wish to be loved, in a way they recognize is a daily practice that I wish everyone should experience in their lifetime.
Falling in love other with its close relative…love at first sight. This is not love. This is lust. This is a visual visceral reaction of you not the object of your desire. Because, how can you fall in love with someone you do not know? They may be beautiful in which case you love the way they look. You cannot possibly love them. Their inner core. Now
Growing in Love is a more realistic longer lasting prospect. You meet someone, you get to know them as friends. No pretenses, no rush building huge amounts of trust. You get to learn about them, what are their values, their dreams, aspirations, what makes them laugh? What scares them? How will the two of you together be greater than the sum of its parts? Are both your visions of a future aligned? In such a way you are still whole and complete and are not altering what is important to you because you met someone else… and likewise for them.
Relationships are more likely to succeed if you are both going in the same direction individually and happen to meet someone that will help you enjoy the journey and perhaps get there faster.
The Object of your affection. Psychologist Erich Fromm in his book “The Art of Loving” a must read for anyone wishing to find happiness in life, reminds us that the object of your love does not have to be another person. You can experience the same joy from loving what you do, your vocation, you pets, gardening, baking, volunteering, your friends, family etc. . Love is love. I was reading another book by famous writers called “Why I write” and it suggests writing whatever it is you are writing as a love letter to the world. Giving it your all, with the same soft touch and deep passion you would caress a lover. I was already in love with writing after reading that …. It took my writing experience and fulfillment from it to a whole new level.
The myth of “one” soulmate. To think that one person can fulfill your emotional, intellectual, spiritual…you name it needs is a pretty tall order. Talk about pressure. I don’t believe in on-line dating. There is nothing wrong with it, that is just my personal opinion. I do have friend who belong to dating sites and share their experience. I do not understand the endless profiles that mention “looking for a soul mate” literally a modern version of a classified ad. I believe you have different soulmates in your life people who share some of your interests and passions. Platonic soulmates. I have many, all my business partners are my soulmates. Our collaboration is more than business it borderlines spirituality. My best friends are my soulmates. Anybody that demands emotional monogamy and to be your everything is not asking out of love. That has more to do with control than with anything else.
Last but not least Self Love the most beautiful love of all. It is not vanity or narcissism. It is radical acceptance. When you learn (yes it is something you learn and teach others) you are never lonely, if you can manage to make yourself laugh, reassure yourself, console yourself, see the beauty in you, value the beauty in you as you are, there is NOTHING anybody can say or do to take that away from you. Emotional independence is a fierce skill that will help you move, climb or create mountains.
So for this month of love, I challenge you to begin by loving yourself. #SelfLove
Daily gratitude and daily love will overflow your cup of life enough to give abundantly to the world.
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