Love…oh marvelous, wonderful, joyful love. Yes! I think Al Green said it best in his song Love and Happiness. Haven’t heard it? Take a listen. It is a throwback, but you may appreciate it even if its not your preferred genre. But, basically he tells us that it is something that can make you come home early...or stay out all night long. I can attest to the truthfulness in Mr. Green's statement. The Bible also has a phenomenal definition of love. Not your thing? Fair, but bear with me for a moment. A portion of the bible says “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
When we think of love, especially around Valentine’s Day, we typically think of romantic love. And, while it holds a strong place in my own heart (love ya, babe), it is not the love that has been the most present for me. My first love is my mom. She's a fantastic lady and I adore her. But, we tend to shirk people as “daddy’s girls or mama’s boys” and basically dismiss that form of love. But, let me be clear…my mom and I have been through a LOT together. She’s my original favorite girl. Then, I have friends that have been with me through all of the mess, beauty, heartache and joy. Should I celebrate these relationships any less? NOPE! Not at all. And, I invite you to reconsider how much value you place on your relationships. Are you placing enough? If so, great, if not…think on it for a minute. Each moment is not promised. Tell your friends that you love them! Don’t make it weird, but let them know they are loved and appreciated. Sometimes, we need to hear that. Do not assume they know.
I am not talking about the casual acquaintance that you meet for coffee only during work hours. I am also not discussing the friend who is great for partying/knitting/recipes, but who gossips too much. Naw, we are not studying them. I am talking about the one who will go for a walk with you when you need to clear your mind because you are going though something brutal on this journey called life. I am talking about that friend that you can go over to their house and just…be. Not doing, just being. You in all your glory get to exist as the WHOLE you.
Love…love is challenging behaviors that no longer serve your friend, family or self. Not being abusive or attempting to berate, but acting in all love and with all due respect…”is this what you’re doing, boo”? Love won’t let you just stay as you are…nope, it loves you as you are, but expects you to evolve.
Not with me? Consider this…do you engage with your friends the same way you did when you were 12 years old? Somethings are NOT going to change, but on a whole, do you engage the same way? Probably not. Why? Well, you changed. I changed. We changed. Change is going to happen. It must happen. But, love, as Al Green said, Love will have you on the phone at not one in the morning, but THREE! And, ya know...love is not arrogant or rude or insistent on its own way.
As we continue, I would be remiss to not mention my favorite type of love; the love of self. They say the greatest love felt is the love for self. Now, I know some of you reading this may not feel that way right now. But, how do we love ourselves? I’d argue that self-care is a form of self love. So, how does that present itself in our lives when we say that we love ourselves?
Well, it could be in the form of manicures and bubble baths. But, it could also be exercise and forcing yourself to drink more water and less coffee or alcohol. It could mean walking away from people who are INSISTENT on crossing your boundaries. It may even be simply saying no with no explanation. It could be maintaining distance from a partner or friend that is harmful, but you haven't been able to release yet. Self care or Self love could present itself in the form of sleeping, reducing alcohol intake, managing our finances, reducing debt or walking away from a job/manager/supervisor that chooses not to see value in our work or our existence. It could also be as simple as taking our medications on a regular basis, eating a diet that is SERVING to our own bodies and not someone else’s expectation.
So, if you have a romantic partner that makes you feel good, loved, supported and cherished…ENJOY. But, let’s not forget about those besties, beloveds and biggest cheerleaders. And, let’s include our own selves in the mix.
Shout out to my besties, my squad, my beloved, the family and anyone that loves me fiercely! I love you and you are amazing. I am overjoyed that YOU are in my world.
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