On Valentine’s Day, expectations run high for cards from our lovers or, if we are single, perhaps from a secret admirer.
Red roses abound and florists are run off their feet making wonderful bouquets.
Shops are full of cute cards, sentimental cards, poetic cards or, for the anti-cringeworthy, jokey humorous cards.
Regardless of your style of celebration, Valentine’s Day triggers thoughts of a frothy, romantic picture and raises our associated expectations. But, is this love?
Love is an emotion we can’t actually see, touch, or measure: we have to feel it, and different people feel it in different ways. So how do we know when we are in love and what does ‘in love’ actually mean? As a hypnotherapist and emotional wellbeing coach working in Sheffield, I asked a few people what love meant to them. As you might imagine, there were some very different responses. I was told that ‘Love’ means laughter, cuddles, sharing interests, doing fun things together, from eating out and watching TV to travelling - most importantly it’s about being on the same page.
It’s a commitment to creativity, faithfulness and a willingness to make sacrifices for affection and care for our partner’s wellbeing.
I was told that ‘love’ is a mutual respect for one other, something deeper than lust and passion; accepting each other - warts and all - even growing to like what we don’t like about ourselves.
It’s understanding and taking the other person’s feelings and needs into consideration, even if we sometimes want different things, because ultimately we want each other to be happy. It’s having tolerance of each other and remembering we are very different people, but untimately that we’re together.
Young love can be confused with lust, an all-consuming passion that burns fast and bright but soon fizzles out. As we grow older we realise love is a kind companion who is thoughtful, caring and sharing, someone we can rely on, talk with and trust. We all view love differently. For these people, though, it’s clear that love comes from the values their share, from being together and the effort they put in to support each other; the friendship they have and their willingness to communicate.
So what is love? Much more than champagne and chocolate, it’s about making sure our values are respected. In a nutshell: ‘what you put in, is what you get out’, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day!
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