I hope we will each consider on this Valentines Day how we might love better, and who needs that love from us most.
As a therapist and human being trying to live my life well, I'm ever more convinced of the power and importance of love. Love heals us and makes us stronger. Love gives meaning and sustenance to our lives. We all say these kinds of things a lot, but it's remarkably true.
And yet, perhaps not surprisingly, love can be hard. Love is what we all hope to receive and yet struggle to offer, especially when it stretches us.
Perhaps this is why it is so precious. Positive feelings may come with love, but it's certainly not a precondition. Meaningful love is not easy and its offering is an act of courage and investment in another person.
Because to love is to do what makes another strong, to do what allows another to thrive. To love is to do what increases another’s ability to feel confident in themselves. To love is to support the development of another’s uniqueness, even if that uniqueness or strength doesn't reinforce us.
Love requires courage because loving usually makes others need us less, reference and revolve around us less. When you love sincerely, the others’ well-being is more important than your ego or desire to feel necessary. To have the courage to love anyway, irrespective of how it reflects on you, is a brilliant and wonderful thing. It is the best in humanity. While we give up our ego (self-reinforcement), love out of courage makes us stronger, too. It is what Christ taught us we can and must reach for in ourselves to know peace and to know God.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."
1 John 4:16
Happy Valentine’s Day!