L-O-V-E

“The chance to love and be loved exists no matter where you are.”

Oprah Winfrey

Uh oh…February 14th is quickly approaching. Love day!!! Bah Humbug!!!

I’ll be honest, this is the first year in a long time that I will be spending Valentine’s Day as a single woman. I’ve been in relationships for the better part of 10 years, and I’ve always, in one way or another, celebrated this day with the one I thought I loved.

Flowers, chocolates, teddy bears. Dinners, movies and candles. Every woman secretly waits to see what her significant other is going to do for her on this day. And if we don’t get what we expect we are crushed. Hurt. Embarrassed. Frustrated. Angry. We wait all year for the one we love to affirm their love and most times it falls short of our expectations.

And often times our expectations are completely unfounded because our relationships do not adequately reflect love in its purest form. So we wait for Valentine’s Day (or any other special occasion) to roll around to validate our relationship and the love we say we share.

But this year will undoubtedly be different for me. I’m single. I’m not expecting flowers, or chocolates or a candle light dinner. I’m not expecting a spa day or a surprise weekend getaway. And to be honest, I’m completely ok with that.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am completely unobsessed with Valentine’s Day. And it’s not because I’m single. (Well, maybe a tiny weeny bit!) It’s because finally after years of waiting for someone to show me that they love me, I’ve started to learn how to love myself.

I never really felt like I was enough on my own, so I was constantly trying to prove my worth in relationships. I yearned for validation and sadly I never really got it. Until one day I decided to pause and actually learn how to love and value myself. (I talk about that process in previous posts like “Note to Self” and “What’s love got to do with it?” )

I know that I’m not “perfect”. According to social standards I have a whole lot of imperfections. But thankfully, I’ve found so much beauty in all of my flaws and broken pieces. And one day I know I’ll find someone who will see the beauty in them too. But until then, I’m not worrying about it. Instead I’m focused on loving myself in the most genuine way I’ve ever been loved by a human being. I’m focused on showing myself that there is life after disappointments and there is love to be learned in every situation.

This year, instead of focusing on loving someone else and showcasing the love they have for me, I’m just trying to understand what love really is. After a lifetime of trying to find it, I’ve accepted that I didn’t even know what it was. The dictionary has a ton of definitions for the word. Merriam Webster left me almost as confused as I was went I started, after reading its SEVEN explanations.

But after much contemplation, I’ve realized that love is a whole lot simpler than I’ve been thinking all of these years. And even in its simplicity it is clearly something abstract and almost impossible to define. It’s relative to the situation, to the person and to the relationship. And the only love that is truly universal and unconditional is the love of God that transcends through me.

The unconditional love that my Heavenly Father has for me is the purest form of love that could ever exist. It is the only true love, the essence of love, it is love incarnate. Despite all the times I’ve failed Him. All the times I’ve consciously gone outside of His will. He loves me the same. And that is the kind of love that I crave, the love that I need in order to truly be complete.

That is the love that I have been searching for all my life. A love that is genuine and real. A love that would not judge me, a love that would not leave me, a love that would protect me. A love that would build me up, fill me up and lift me up.  A love that would teach me how to love myself.

That is the love that I choose to celebrate this year because it is the foundation of all other love. I’ve been doing it the wrong way all this time. Looking for that earthly love, searching for that human validation. But real love, true and lasting love, begins and ends with God.

It’s Valentines weekend, and romantic love is amazing. Even after all of my failed attempts in finding it, I still believe this to be true. But after realizing what the love of God has done for my life, I could only imagine how much more amazing a romantic love will be when it takes residence in my soul. And now, after allowing His love to penetrate my being, to rebuild the broken places and fill the emptiness, I can truly say that I am finally ready for love. Because I am love. I am God’s love.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you. My sincere desire for you is that you seek to find the love of God first, learn how that love overflows into your being second and manifest it in your life at last.

Be strong…be courageous…BE GREAT!!!

With love,

Nae

xoxox

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