You Don’t Need To Be In A Relationship To Feel Loved

I’m sitting at my dining room table with my laptop open to YouTube, watching Alicia Keys and John Mayer’s performance in Times Square—the one where they sing a mashup of “If I Ain’t Got You” and “Gravity.” I was supposed to be looking for a cover to insert into my vlog but instead I ended up going down the rabbit hole that is YouTube playlists, and three hours later, here I am.

I must’ve watched at least 20 covers, so I don’t know why halfway through this specific performance, I broke down and began ugly crying. Maybe it’s because it’s been a while since I’ve felt sane.

Since I felt joy.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to see life as beautiful, and as I’m crying I’m also laughing, and it’s a weird mix of emotions, but I’m not containing myself. I’m letting the tears flow, I’m letting the laughter roar. Thankfully I’m home alone and out of sight because I’m pretty sure people would think I was having a Girl, Interrupted moment right about now.

I’m having an epiphany in the middle of my maniacal laughter and hysterical crying. There is irony in being single for the first time in almost four years but feeling the most loved I’ve ever felt.

February, as we know, can be a difficult month for many people due to Valentine’s Day and its romantic connotations. Currently, television, social media, and nearly all commercial businesses are consumed with messages for couples, serving as a constant reminder that love is shown outwardly during this time of year.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love love. And by that I mean I love it in all its splendor. I love seeing couples in love. I love reading stories about how people met. I’m a sucker for weddings and proposals and grand declarations of love in general. In true Aries fashion, I’m a huge romantic, and love, to me, is a deity. However, I’d be lying if I said that as this month was approaching, I didn’t wince just a tad bit when thinking about it.

You see, after almost four years of being in a relationship with someone I thought I would grow old with, this is my first Valentine’s Day without her. Furthermore, February 24th will mark one year since we parted ways.

So we can just throw the whole month away? It’s cancelled! K, thanks!

Just kidding.

It would be a tragedy to minimize romantic love because of a bad experience. Falling in love with someone and being loved in return is a miracle. Truly, it is. The level of intimacy and awakening it takes to go there is spiritual.

Loving someone is divine.

It’s otherworldly.

It would also be a tragedy, however, to think that because you are single and without a romantic love, you are therefore loveless. The real tragedy is in not realizing that love, in all its divinity, exists in many forms. So as I sit here, feeling the tears drying from my face after having caught my breath and recovered from my moment, I’m thinking about the abundant love in my life. It’s okay that romantic love is not in my life for now. I’m sure that later in life it will come back to me in the form of a new lover, and that day will be beautiful as well. But the love I have now is worthy of being acknowledged and embraced.

You see, love is hugging my parents a little tighter to take in all their features, realizing that new lines have formed on their faces in the length of my absence. Love is gently whispering to Father Time that he should slow down enough to commit their laughs to memory. Love is all of us sitting down to watch a TV show together. Love is my dad calling me to ask me what I think of the new painting he just made. Love is my mom telling me about her day at work.

Love is in the shape of phone conversations with my sister that last three hours, talking about everything and nothing. Love is giving her advice to make life a little easier, all the while realizing that the little pig-tailed girl who used to make funny faces at the camera has grown up. Love is laughing until our stomachs hurt.

Love is looking in the mirror and thinking your freckles are popping today. Love is your friends cooking you a meal. Love is kindness and forgiveness.

Love is oftentimes taken for granted because it’s hidden in the mundane.

So if you’re feeling a little less loved on Valentine’s Day—or any day, really—just look for love in the mundane. Mostly because love is rarely a big spectacle or a declaration of elaborate “I love you’s”. Most of the time love is humble, meek, and grand in its simplicity.

So this month, and every month hereafter, may you find comfort in the blanket of the little moments, and may you discover that you have more love in your life than you knew was possible. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I can’t live without lemon and salt.

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