The Paradox of Love
I chuckled because it was clever. But as someone who’s been single for more Valentine’s Days than coupled, I understood what he meant.
Hope For Love
If you’re single and don’t really want to be single, then Valentine’s Day is the one holiday a year where Cupid’s arrow lands in your gut at almost every turn. This feeling of hope for love and love pangs are part of the paradox of love.
Why? The only worse place to be on Valentine’s than alone, is to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t make your heart beat a little faster, your smile a little bigger and your mind daydream.
Love Is Complicated
However, everyone, even those who are lucky in love, knows that love’s complicated – and some moments are a paradox, because our hearts and minds pull us in opposite directions. We feel one way and think we should feel another way.
We seek love because loving and being loved makes our happy happier, and our challenges more manageable. Ironically, the first person we need to love is ourselves, so we can really love others.
Yet, we fear love because it makes us vulnerable. Another person’s happiness, hopes, and dreams become part of ours. Their consideration—or lack of consideration—for our feelings, hopes and dreams is either the wings that help us fly… or love is the sword that fills our heart with emotional angst that possibly leaves unseen scars.
Even when our head tries to protect our hearts, the love paradox is that our hearts want to love and be loved.
Love ? Love ? Love
The types of love are almost impossible to count. The way we love romantic partners, children, parents, siblings, friends and pets is different. Yet, they all share the basic emotion or feeling connected to another. We also love songs, movies and books because they make us feel. We love our goals because they inspire us. We love things because of the memories we associate with them.
Love is a vast, all-consuming experience – we always seek, embrace or avoid it. Some spiritual masters claim that our only goal is to love.
Yet, can we really love everything and have any self-protection boundaries? The paradox is: If we did love everything, would we need boundaries?
The truth is that boundaries don’t define love. Ironically, sometimes the most loving thing we can do for someone we love is to let them live the consequences of their actions. Sometimes love doesn’t require a hug, but instead a push. Neither the pusher, nor the one being pushed, may feel the love at that moment.
Love Is A Paradox
Yes, love is a paradox. It’s both simple and complicated. It makes us feel happier, and more connected than any other feeling. But it can also be the catalyst that pushes us into a hole of depth and despair that’s almost indescribable when we feel disconnected from it.
For me, when I ponder the simple question, “What is love?” no matter the kind of love, it’s a verb: Love is the heartbeat of life.
[Tweet “What is #LOVE? “Love is the heartbeat of life.” Pamela Gail Johnson”]
Love And Above
If you are romantic Valentine-less this year, instead of letting the day be defined by feeling sad, or if you want to celebrate love beyond romance, consider celebrating by doing these things instead:
Do something that recharges your soul—take a bubble bath, enjoy a glass of wine, some chocolate, and listen to your favorite tunes. Or go to a yoga class—there’s not better way to center your heart than when you focus on your breath.
Host a Party
Invite your single friends to your house. Order pizza, play games or watch funny movies. Another option is to ask each person to bring another single friend.
We did it as kids, so we can do it as adults. Send Valentines or small gifts to the people you love the most – the people who make you smile like your grandkids, your best friend or a sibling.
Do a Random Act of Kindness. Take treats to a hospital or nursing home. Call someone who may have lost their Valentine this year. Do a pay-it-forward.
Give your pet a special Valentine’s treat so they feel extra love.
However, if you need to wallow a bit, do it, write in your journal, cry or hit a punching bag.
Embrace Love’s Paradoxes
Love is complicated and can make everyone feel sad on occasion. But when we embrace love’s paradoxes it makes more room in our heart for more love.