Across the United States and in other places worldwide, February 14 is hailed as a day of love. Flowers, candy, and gifts large and small are exchanged between loved ones on Valentine’s Day. This day, however, is not just for romance, it is a time to celebrate love. Love is a powerful emotion that is more easily experienced than defined. It is an oxymoron. The paradox of love is that it is supremely free yet attaches participants with bonds stronger than death.
For those in a romantic relationship, Valentine’s Day conjures up strong imageries of passion, while those who are single often experience overwhelming loneliness. Not everyone has a significant other to celebrate this special day with, but if one should announce that they are spending it alone – by choice – it is as if they are committing a crime. Being single on Valentine’s Day is not as bad as people assume, as long as it is met with the right attitude. Believe it or not, it is possible to be single, but not lonely. Everyone can celebrate love because it is not subjected solely to eroticism.
Valentine’s Day is about love… all expressions of it. Love has many variations and on February 14 whether in a relationship or single, all can celebrate this powerful stimulant. Love is that is a plethora of emotions which are typically not experienced with one person. The most notable variations of strong emotion are:
Philia – a deep, but non-sexual intimacy which is felt among family members of close friends.
Ludus – a more playful affection which revolves around flirting or fooling around.
Pragma – a mature love that develops over a longer period of time between couples. This type involves actively practicing commitment, goodwill, understanding, and compromise.
Agape – a more generalized love for all humanity void of exclusivity.
Philautia – is an unselfish form of self-love. This variation understands that before a person can truly love another, they must first love themselves. Self-love serves as a barrier against abuse because it will not allow others to abnormally use them through physical or emotional measures.
Eros – is the least, but often causes the most trouble. It is centered on desire and sexual passion. However, it always burns itself out unless it morphs into pragma and/or philia.
Love is all of the above, but ironically, not all-inclusive. All of these expressions of love can be experienced, but they not designed for one special person. This is why family and community is important. Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love, and as such creates a celebration of the freedom to express it any way one desires. If romance is a factor, be romantic, but if a person is single there is no reason to feel left out of the great opportunity to benefit from this special day.
Life is all about perspective. On Valentine’s Day, instead of harping on negative emotions which often accompany failed relationships or the lack thereof, replace those feelings with the paradox of love. It can be with that special someone, family, friends or by visiting a homeless shelter or nursing facility.
Valentine’s Day is not just for romance, but a time to celebrate all facets of love. The paradox of love is that it is supremely free yet connects people with bonds stronger than death. Real love cannot be bought or sold; there is nothing it cannot conquer and it is one of life’s greatest blessing.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Psychology Today: What Is Love, and What Isn’t?
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Inline Image Courtesy of Jessy Rone – Flickr License
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