“Love” is one of the most difficult words to define. Human beings often think about this essential experience by limiting their attention to the attributes of love.
- Is “love” a simple feeling or a complex discipline?
- Does “love” manifest itself in grand gestures or in subtle, intimate moments?
- Is “love” felt more when it is given or received?
Our experiences of love play an important role in our mental health and well-being. Thinking about love is natural because we all crave and need love and belonging to survive. But love has proven to transcend our imagination’s attempts to define it over and over again. Our personal experiences are an excellent starting point to begin imagining the full scope of love; However, due to social narratives and pressures, people often understand the beautiful melody of love as a single note: that of romantic relationships.
In honor of this season of love, let me highlight some of the other harmonious elements of the melody of love.
Self-love, when done right, is the metronome to your dynamic love melody. Balance and synchronize your ability to love others based on your capacity, needs and goals. Loving yourself is the foundation of all other expressions of love.
The universal forms of love for our family, friends, and surroundings are not typically the focus of Valentine’s Day activities or celebrated in the movies, but they are undoubtedly a fundamental part of our sense of well-being and belonging. You can create harmony in your life by fostering your relationship with your community through spontaneous visits, volunteering, or simply being present with loved ones or in nature to show your appreciation.
Furry, scaly, or feathered pets bring a sense of comfort, humor, and affection to the lives of their human caregivers. Pets teach us patience and the importance of routines. The bonds created with pets are full of compassion and care that overflow into our treatment of others and our environment.
Hobbies, traditions, and goals can be a huge source of satisfaction in our daily lives. These practices inspire people to strive to be their best selves and contribute meaningfully to their world. You may love cooking, reading, gardening, singing, or creating, and these passions also deserve recognition as an expression of love.
The beautiful melody of love is constantly composed and has a unique melody for each individual. Above are some examples of unexpected displays of love, but you are the composer of your own piece of “love” music. You can identify one of your personal loves that is special and unique in your own life and fill in the blank here.
Mental Health America is here to provide you with resources to help you care for your mental health, practice self-care, and foster healthy relationships. Visit our Spread the Love campaign page to read, listen to, or engage with our other resources to increase your sense of belonging this season of love.