He had two loves: One was tough on him, the other to him. Both were tough for him.
“I love her too much,” he explained to me, elaborating that his love for the former, his mother, was too great for him to execute a dissatisfied romance-induced suicidal plan. He rationalized his actions to align with the belief that a person need not have a love life to, at least try, and love life.
Though a highly rational being, his feelings ran deep and his amorous ambition long. On the clouded front between peace and chaos, the helpless romantic derived peace in knowing that at any given instant, he could access love in one of its various forms.
Eager to leave the house and attend university, this male teenager, despite his strong love for his mother, by no means aligned with the definition of a “mama’s boy.” He loved his mother, his friends, his siblings, exercising outdoors and numbers (including the one represented by the very last letter of “love.”).
Together, these various forms of love inspired him to become the best version of himself so that he could “love” his life and the world in which he lived as an aspiring engineer. And he knew, that by choosing to not live and nurture the passions of his life, he would be jeopardizing love, and the happiness of others, at large.
There exists love between friends, family, communities, teams, passions, ideas, self and even strangers through charity. There exists a love at every moment for everyone in this world because there is a place for everyone in this world, which is not limited to the arms of another.
While we often glorify, idolize romance as the poster child of love, perhaps out of loneliness, vanity or desire for attention, we so often dismiss the other beautiful forms that can be just as powerful, if not more, than romantic love itself.
Yes, these ideas may seem residual of a rose-colored lens, though some of the darkest realities of this world have inspired – no – forced me to sit down and share this message. It is so affirming to hear that we deserve respect and love and equally empowering to realize we all deserve respect. Far too often, we conflate these aforementioned virtues for love or confuse love for acceptance in this broken world.
Perhaps we all want love because it is one of the very few things (among knowledge), that when shared with others, is not “divided” or lessened. Rather, it multiplies, it grows. You don’t need a love life to love life, but you do need to know that you, just as you are, are worthy of love in your life.
Certainly, you deserve romantic love, but why limit yourself? You deserve all forms of love. You are worthy of all love. Just because one particular form of love is not present in your life does not mean it cannot be nor should not be. You are already loved probably more than you realize.
Imagine how much happier and more peaceful life would be if people just realized they are loved and others are loved. As an expression says, “Hurt people hurt people” which begs us to reevaluate the underrated power of simple acts of kindness, such as a smile, or positive words. Yes, the feeling of someone to whom you are attracted displaying kindness to you is wonderful. Yes, it is worth pursuing. There is nothing wrong in and of itself to seek to be loved. Romance is good, but a disproportionate desire for it is unhealthy, though an invitation to embrace other forms of love.
For example, consider negative integers. If the number 0 represents no romantic love life whatsoever, and a negative number represents an abusive, violent relationship, we can see that it is “greater” (or better) to be single than “loved” in this case. Far too often, we mistake company and attention for love. Company and attention are related to love, but they are not the same entities. Sometimes, it is better to be by yourself than to be with someone else, especially if the other person is harms, abuses or inhibits your growth while showering you with compliments or gifts.
We so often forget that we are capable of bringing ourselves happiness, that we are attractive in the eyes of others for reasons that we can acknowledge ourselves. In finding our own beauty first, be it through a superpower like kindness or passion like running, it becomes so much healthier (and a bit more objective) in understanding the beauty others see in us.
Yes, there is a happiness associated with affirmation. We all seek to be affirmed, perhaps in different ways through different sources, and that is normal. However, affirmation does not add or subtract from the awe, talent and potential within all of us. The fact someone realizes you are capable or acknowledges a strength does not mean you suddenly have that gift.
Existence and acknowledgement are not the same. There are so many things in this world we have yet to discover that already exist. Equally, just because someone no longer sees the positive trait that once drew them to you does not necessarily mean that you no longer have that trait. You are just as funny, artistic, and intelligent before or after that person came into your life. You are just as funny, artistic and intelligent once that person leaves your life, too. Love does not add or subtract from your value and dignity; it only affirms it.
No, I am not saying that you can’t have a love life and love life. You certainly can, as the two are related, yes, but at the same time, being single and loving life are not mutually exclusive. Studies show a relationship (no pun intended) between happiness and a relationship status.
While it is very clear that a romantic partner can enrich life on so many levels, be mindful that correlation does not always imply causation. That is, it is absolutely possible that happier single people attract other happier single people and become happy couples. Why? Because positive energy is an attractive force. Positivity, be it through smiles, kindness or humor, uplifts spirits.
So, grant yourself the power to enjoy life, to respect and accept yourself, and to not generalize the world at large from one situation devoid of love. Give yourself permission to remember you, just like every other person, are worthy of love and respect. Always. And please, let yourself “stop and smell the roses” in the garden of life because when you look up, someone may surprise you with a bouquet right before your eyes.