While romantic love is certainly a special kind of love, it is not the only kind to celebrate on Valentine’s Day!
Some of the world’s greatest philosophers wrote and talked about the many kinds of love and their meanings.
By studying their works, I have learned over the many years as a divorce attorney, a wife, a step-mother, a friend, a daughter, a sister (and as the caregiver of a rescue dog, Rodney), there are many facets (gems) to the beauty of love.
I remind my clients who are going through the angst of a divorce to be open on Valentine’s Day (and all other days of the year) to consider how they, too, can live the truths of the philosophical love reminders we all have access to—I ask them to operate on a higher plane.
Doing so serves to distract them from the loss of romantic love, a commodity, when absent, can only be amplified on February 14. As 13th century poet, scholar, and theologian Mevlana JaJaluddin Rumi (better known as just Rumi) said,
“Your job is not to seek for love, but to remove the blocks to love’s awareness which is inherently yours already.”
Ascribing to that philosophy of love, I have put together a few words by others well known for their perspectives on love, and how you can utilize them throughout the day on Valentine’s Day, and long after.
Here is a list of my favorite “jewels.” Perhaps, you have a list of your own!
Wise Words From The Wisest On Love
One of the world’s best storytellers said when talking about gratitude: “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Yes, itemize your list every morning. Doing so will direct your attention away from the trite, the petty and the painful. Don’t focus on any irritant. That mental activity will only bring you negative energy.
Negatives can expand and fester when you are consumed with thoughts of things or people that irritate you. Instead, focus on what you appreciate in “things” and “person(s)” and all other things for which you are grateful. This allows you to become more in touch with the love that is already there. If you feel the need to criticize someone or some one thing, stop and do a short two-to-five-minute meditation to clear your mind. It will then realign with a higher consciousness in the universe.
A great storyteller and humorist was big on forgiveness. He once said: “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the hill that crushed it.” This is one of my favorite sayings. There is a sharp bite to that and deadpan humor to the saying, though it rings true. If you’re tracking people who may have caused you hurt, remember most people ultimately find a way to redeem themselves.
(Even President Nixon said, “Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.” Unfortunately, he had to learn this lesson the hard way. But what better person to teach us this lesson). Forgive your ex on Valentine’s Day. You will find it very liberating.
A Greek playwright (458 BC) talks a good deal about grace throughout his works. He said, “Wisdom comes through suffering.” Anyone who has been through the deep hurt of a divorce or separation knows what he was talking about. I believe that it is through suffering that the heart expands to the fullest. That is when we feel a deeper love is within us.
Again, concentrating on all Aeschylus expressed, brings us to a broader and higher love. I believe grace exists on the other side of pain—it is the sister of love. When going through a break-up, and when you take the time needed to wallow in the pain, that is not always a bad thing. Going through such a process head-on, rather than hiding from it (through alcohol, drugs and other excesses) allows a person to grow.
Through growth comes wisdom. I believe with grace we can have more compassion for our fellow man and ourselves. Focusing on grace can serve as a cushion when landing hard on the divorce floor.
Groundbreaking actress/comedienne during the advent of television. Lucy believed that self-love was the key to life. “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line,” she was quoted as saying. Love yourself through good times and bad and love will be ever constant. If you are looking for someone to fill the void…complete you…then you will be forever restless and unfulfilled. Yes, you long for romance on Valentine’s Day, but what about self-love that day?
If you’re thinking about love with a partner, though, think about letting go of any type of control and supporting that person on good days and bad ones. Don’t “need” that person. Love that person while also loving yourself. If more of us would think: self-love we would have a more realistic perspective about what romantic love means as compared to self-love. Perhaps more marriages might be saved.
Beatle’s singer/songwriter and philosopher (messages about love permeated his lyrics) sang “ It is when we see beyond ourselves that peace of mind will be waiting there.” Ergo: Service to others. Those going through divorce are so wrapped up in their misery they have little time for the world around them and the people in it. Nothing transforms passive longing and feelings of loss than to give and serve others.
Maybe it’s visiting an elderly person in the hospital; jumping in to help a friend in need without them even asking; rescuing a wounded animal; showing more compassion for your children and close family. Find a cause and give of yourself to it. When I ask myself how I can be of service and do it, it is one of the most gratifying “love” feelings of all. In the midst of it, you find your feelings of anger and resentment dissolve into feelings of love.
It is one of the suggestions I give all my clients on getting through not just Valentine’s Day, but every day especially during the divorce phase.
New age philosopher and teacher gave countless lectures and classes on love and trust. He once said, “No matter what life has thrown at us, there is always a way to trust not only that we can be present for life, but that it’s in the very nature of our life to renew itself.” Dass taught us that there will always be doubt, doubt, and more doubt.
The secret to combating uncertainty is to concentrate on faith and trust—yet another way to express and indulge in self-love and give love to others. Courting doubt will simply engender more doubt. At this stage of your life—surviving a painful break-up—the best thing you can do is to trust yourself to make all the right decisions, and you will.
Trust will bring about the love which can take care of anything. Abraham Lincoln said, “The belief in that which is seen is really no belief at all. It is the belief in that which is unseen that there reveals faith.”
I think one of the great purposes of life is to look at the opportunities we have to grow the love within us despite the sadness, injustice, and adversity. We will see over the course of our lives that there are times when we succeeded in growing love and other times when we squandered it. But it’s always been there.
I urge you to take a Valentine’s Day challenge this year and work to make each day a conscious tribute to love, not only for yourself but for those around you.
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