What’s love got to do with it?

aliherrmannoneEverywhere you look this week there are Valentine reminders to celebrate love. Hearts adorn shop windows, displays of red roses appear at every corner.

And there are never-ending references to romance which allude to the idea that if you don’t have a significant other in your life you are somehow inadequate or even abnormal.

But this focus on things like cards, candies and flowers perpetuates the myth that love can somehow be bought. And that for the right price you can experience true romance.

It’s nice to receive a love token and a genuine romantic gesture is something we all can appreciate. If this time of year prompts you or your partner to do something meaningful or just fun, that’s wonderful. But has love got anything to do with it?

What if love is just too painful at the moment? Feeling unloved or experiencing rejection is hard enough but when you’re surrounded by expectations of romance it can reinforce your loneliness. And worse, it can make you believe that you are unlovable. The message is clear – No Valentine. No love. No life.

And that is so wrong. Because Valentine’s has so little to do with love. Love isn’t a gift that can be exchanged. It isn’t the bigger the gift, the bigger the love. Love is something so precious and so pure. It can be given and received but it can never be bought.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Corinthians 13:4-8

This is one of my favourite definitions of love. One that I only discovered through my own emotional recovery. My perception before that was based on my experience of a complete lack of love as a child. I wasted so much time in the past in a state of anguish. I tortured myself with questions of why my mum didn’t love me enough not to have run away. Or why my dad ‘loved’ me in the way he did –  through control and abuse. I grew up with a fear of loving and a fear of being loved.

At the lowest point of my life I believed that I would never be able to replace the love that I never had, so there was little point trying. But it was through this absence of love that I experienced real love. Those that stood by me through my darkest suicidal days of addiction and depression showed me unconditional love that helped me gently onto the path of self-love and self belief. They loved me at my most unlovable. And for me that was true love.

“The antidote to pain is love.” ~ The Hurt Healer

I learnt the wonderful truth that love hurts but it also heals. It is powerful yet compassionate. If you let it, love will be your light in the darkness and love will be the truth that overcomes the doubt. I believe that love exists in all of us and that to deny it, we deny the very essence of our selves.

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”                            ~ Mother Teresa

Extending love to others is something that shouldn’t be confined to one day in the year. We can show our support, care, understanding, encouragement and affection at any time and to anyone.aliherrmanntwo

Love is both priceless and infinite. And this is the gift I give this Valentine’s. A love that is free and that lasts forever.

What’s love got to do with it? Everything.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Images thanks to the fabulous talent of Ali Herrmann at Etsy.com

71 thoughts on “What’s love got to do with it?

  1. Great post, Carolyn! You know, it seems that most people feel obligated to celebrate Valentine’s day, and this is the thing that befuddles me. I was born on Valentine’s day, so to me it’s something very special, and like every holiday it is a reminder, an encouragement to re-enforce, to rejuvenate love within and without for the rest of the year. So I often wonder why others feel so turned off by it. I suppose it’s because they feel they have to buy something for someone. Love should come easily, freely from the heart. If we love someone then why should it feel like an obligation to express that love. It should be a time of renewing that love toward another. Of course it should be expressed every day, but Valentine’s day is a day of Love with a capital “L”…not only about romantic love, that’s just a part of it, but all Love…universal Love. And love should begin with loving oneself…fully, freely, and as God intended…”Love your neighbor as Yourself.” I have found that first we must fill up on the Eternal Being’s Love for us, then we can see more how to love ourselves and others, as well as have more love to give. If our source of love is our Source, then there is never a lack of love. So even if we do not have a significant other on Valentine’s day, we are never really alone, because we are always able to express love to someone somewhere in the world.

    Your post was heart-fully written, and I sense the Love within it.

    Love,
    Marianne xo

    • Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment Marianne. Some lovely statements! I really like you idea of filing up on the Eternal Being’s Love for us -that is true love!

  2. Lovely post, Carolyn – thank you. I did a collage recently which had the phrase ‘a pleasant kind of loneliness’ with a person standing in an airport watch the planes. I’ve always enjoyed being alone, but I felt a very painful kind of loneliness when I was living with someone who had stopped communicating with me

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  4. I wish there was another holiday to celebrate true love that has no attachments or dependencies. Just as Apostle Paul described (one of the few writings of his that I like). That’s not about monetary displays but about the energy of true love. V Day is just commercial – but I do still like getting presents. 🙂

  5. Thank you for the quote on Love. It is something to read often and aspire toward. I like to think of myself as a loving person, but I miss the mark sometimes and get caught in my own story of pain. As always, your blog is a lovely reminder of how a life well lived feels.

  6. That was beautifully written Carolyn!

    Yes, love holds no bars and is infinite. Love is what makes the world go round too – isn’t it? Sorry to hear all that you underwent when you were young, which is the reason you feel the way you do. However, I’m glad you have journeyed and found your share of happiness now and that makes you who and what you are.

    Hope you had a lovely Valentine’s as well. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this with us. 🙂

  7. You’re right LOVE is EVERYTHING…starting with loving ourselves for who we are, in the past, in the now, and who we are becoming by learning that love isn’t a day. It isn’t a card. It isn’t a flower or a Ferrari. It IS everything! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

  8. I so agree with you, Carolyn. Valentine’s Day should be celebrated year round. Plus, I really believe in overriding the commercialism and be filled with happiness and self-love no matter what your relationship situation is. Thank you for this beautiful post.

  9. Happy belated Valentine’s Day! I was just telling someone how I was one of the happier single people on Valentine’s Day. I decided to have an amazing day and to be nice to others and to go around saying happy Valentine’s Day to as many people as possible and making their day and that made my day. I agree with you, extending love should not only be on one day so maybe I will go for another round of making people’s days tomorrow : )

  10. Beautiful post here, Carolyn. Valentine’s Day comes but once a year, but love can be found everyday. Loving ourselves is the first step to any kind of relationship and for all us, it is important to heal our emotional wounds. We can then be our best selves and give our full love to another. I love your images as well – beautiful!

  11. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring post, Carolyn. Valentine’s Day was also my birthday and I am single and was alone but I’ve learned to love myself and be good to myself as well…something I had not done in the past. So glad you shared this quote as well: ”“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Mother Teresa. Awesome!

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  13. This was absolutely powerful and a welcome reminder of what love really is about. We need more of these messages and reminders- so that so many of us do not have to spend years trying to rebuild our lives after living in such hurtful fantasies surrounding love. thank you!

    • It is those hurtful fantasies of love that let us down so badly because they are so distant from reality and truth. Real love is nothing like the fabricated romantic notions we are exposed to. Thank you for your insightful comments Kimberly.

  14. Hi Carolyn
    At first I thought that this post was going to be one of sadness and grief. Yet, as I kept on reading, I felt myself being inspired by what you were conveying.

    I’ve always thought of Valentine’s Day as a day to show friendship, even though my husband and I celebrate it romanically in small ways. The reason I think of this day as one of friendship is because when I was growing up, kids gave Valentine cards to their friends with the little candy hearts. I always liked that.

    • I’m glad to read that you were being inspired Glynis. I do include a lot of sadness and grief in my posts but I do try to end on positive note! I love your idea of Valentine’s as a friendship day. That is much more like it for me:)

  15. Yes, I do feel blessed that, at this point in my life, I don’t feel like I’m seeking out “a relationship” just for the sake of being able to say that I have one — and that hasn’t always been true. Actually paying attention to what I want, as opposed to the image I want to create, definitely seems key.

    • I admire your honesty here Chris – how many others would actually admit to being in a relationship just to say that they are in one? And I love your insight into looking for what you actually want as opposed to an image of what’s expected. Thank you for taking the time to comment Chris.

  16. You are so right about Love Carolyn. I am with you love should be celebrated everyday, not set aside for one day of the year. When it comes to Corinthians 13:4-8 I know this passage well. When i was dating my hubby he was very scare of love, because of past experience with his ex. When he would really pull away from me out of fear, I would say this passage to help me remember what love is all about.
    With love does bring bain, but the love does take away the pain.
    Have a wonderful day today on this Valentine day and everyday after this day.
    Debbie

  17. Lovely post. Why we forget that LOVE is not something that can only celebrate for one day in fact its a way of life. As it said we live a life when we love it. I really like this quote its touched my heart & I keep remembering it 🙂

    “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Corinthians 13:4-8

  18. I love your passage, I sense your sincerity and what you experienced. All of this and then some in order that I can identify with your story and share my love. Much love sent your way lady.❤❤❤❤❤

    P.S.
    1Corinthians 13:4-8 is one of my favorite
    scriptures too. 😊

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