"You come to love not by finding an imperfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly."-Sam Keen
Ahhh, Valentine's Day. We meet again. The day we celebrate love. Children love to give and receive Valentines, especially ones with candy taped to them. Parents love the sweet craft their little one brings home from school, telling us what amazing mothers and fathers we are, and provoking tears at the reminder of how much we will miss this age one day. Many adults, especially women, love to receive flowers or jewelry or an intimate evening in order to feel loved by their significant other. Many men love when the day is over and they have managed to give enough time, energy, and material gifts to make their partners happy. Seriously, though, most men simply love to know that their efforts are noticed and appreciated. There are countless ways to express love to the people in our lives, but I can't let the day slip away without reiterating for the umpteenth time, because that's what we're here for, that true love- for others, for our work, for our hobbies, will always begin and end with the love we have for and express to ourselves.
The Ancient Greeks talked about four main types of love. They are Eros, Philia, Storge, and Agape. Eros love is romantic love. This is the love we feel for our lover. It is this type of love we feel when we declare, "I am in love!", or I have fallen in love!", or when we finally think it's serious enough to announce to all our "friends", through our updated Facebook status, that we are "In a relationship"(because it just isn't official until that happens). Philia love is the type of love we feel for our dear friends. This love manifests slowly, through repeated voluntary effort to make time for this person because we enjoy their character traits and we have fun being in their company. Storge love is the kind of love parents have for their children. It's an unequal, but also unconditional love. Even if you don't have children, you can probably relate to this type of love if you've ever cared for an elderly parent or grandparent, or you've been the responsible owner of a pet or plant. This type of love requires lots of effort on your part. It isn't always fun. In fact, it often requires more effort than you'd care to exert. And yet you wouldn't change it for the world. Then there is Agape love. This is an altruistic love towards people, your community, your planet for the sake of this type of loving being important because it is the right thing to do for the greater good of all humans, without expecting anything in return.
"We are not here on Earth to see through each other, we are here to see each other through."- Unknown
On this Valentine's Day, I am pleased to report that my love levels are off the charts. I may not have changed my Facebook status, but I can unequivocally shout from the rooftops that I am in complete and utter love. I have found the love of my life. My only regret is that we didn't find one another twenty years earlier so I would have more time on this Earth to love him. I am proud to report that I have had the same best friend since the ninth grade. This year will make thirty years of the best friendship a girl could ask for. No matter how far apart (which is far because I have been in Atlanta and she in Las Vegas for the past twelve years) or how long we go without speaking(which can also be a long time since it's a three hour time difference and we are both busy), within thirty seconds it's like we are the same girls from the ninth grade, talking for hours and laughing hysterically. My children are healthy and safe and crazy and most days the big ones are an extreme pain in my ass and the baby is a baby who is lucky she's so cute and everyone ALWAYS needs something and I should have thought of that before I had five kids and also my life would cease to exist as I know it forevermore should I ever lose one of these precious souls and this type of love is so painful and yet I wouldn't think of changing a thing. Finally, I have been blessed to experience the pure love of being able to contribute, both financially and through volunteerism, to the needs of my community. I have never regretted spending my time or resources on improving the human condition. I have received far more in joy, connection, and satisfaction than I ever could have imagined.
This. This is why we do what we do at ReConnectEd to Life. I'm not telling you all about how happy I am to brag. I'm telling you because I want it FOR you, too, and I absolutely believe it can happen. There is nothing greater than love, and you have everything you need to give and receive that love fiercely, with intention and joy. But first you must commit to loving yourself. You will have everything you want in life if you will only show yourself the love first. I wasn't born happy. In fact, quite the opposite. Depression, addiction, abuse of myself and people I claimed to love was rampant in my life for a long time. It wasn't until I started constantly practicing The Four Seeds of Self-Care that my mind began to get healthy and my though patterns began to change and the way I desired to treat myself changed, which changed the way I treated others. I practice depending on myself and trusting my own significance. I befriend myself, speaking to myself in affirming ways and finding ways to treat my imperfections endearingly. I practice unconditional love and forgiveness for myself when I make messes or mistakes or can't stop crying. I practice sleeping well, eating well, meditating, and exercising simply because it's the right thing to do for my health. Because when I am healthy, I feel better. When I feel better, I do better. When I do better, the world is a better place. The love for myself changes lives. On this Valentine's Day, I pray you will finally decide to be your own one true love.
With love and gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel