For years, and years and years, my father has always bought me flowers on Valentine’s Day. When I was single, I used to roll my eyes. Dad, I’d say, this makes me look so pathetic.
And then he’d tell me, What’s pathetic about knowing that your dad loves you?
And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. Absolutely nothing.
Flowers from my Dad changed this silly little holiday for me. Yes, it’s Hallmark. Yes, you should tell the people you love that you love them every day. But there’s nothing wrong with celebrating love a little bit louder one day a year. And thanks to my own father, I truly believe Valentine’s Day is for everyone, whether or not you’re in a relationship. Love is something that has no limit or boundary. Love looks different to everyone, and when you open your eyes to it, you’ll see love in the most unexpected places.
Sometimes it’s hard to open your eyes to the love that surrounds you. I know there have been seasons of life where it’s been hard for me. Here are 10 reminders of the love that surrounds us, no matter what your relationship status is:
1. Love is there in the moments when you call your mom/dad/guardian to share in a celebration or an accomplishment. Listen to how their words are filled with delight and pride—that’s joy. That’s love. It’s still there when you’re sharing your pain. Listen to their silence or their soothing words. That’s love. It’s all love.
2. Love is in the eyes of your grandparents. If you’re fortunate enough to still have them with you on this earth, look at how they look at you. Grandparent love is often palpable. Pay attention.
3. Love is there in the moments you call your best friends when your heart is wounded. It’s there when they show up at your door with pizza and beverages and already know which movies to stream. See how they show up for you? That’s love.
4. Love is there when you get to go to work every day and love what you do. That sense of accomplishment, that pride in what you have created—that’s a special kind of love that always deserves to be celebrated.
5. Love is there when you stand outside and let the sun warm your face. When you feel the wind blow through your hair. When you wiggle your toes in the sand and when you feel the awe that comes when you stand at the edge of the ocean and just watch the blue stretch for miles. That’s a divine kind of love.
6. Love is there when you finish your siblings’ sentences.
7. Love is there when you look around a table, and even if you’re far from home, the faces that look back at you are another kind of family that you have built. And they love all the bits of you, too. That’s beautiful. That’s love.
8. Love is there when the stranger helps you with your bags or holds open a door or perhaps even buys you a cup of coffee as you stand behind them in line. Random acts of kindness are a special kind of love.
9. Love is there on the pages of your favorite book, in the notes of your favorite song, in the frames of your favorite movie, in the moments of your favorite play. An artist put a piece of their heart out there, and now you get to see their love alive and share in that, too.
10. Look in the mirror. Stare at your eyes. Memorize the curves of your face. Love is in you. I see it. I hope you do, too.