The Different Kinds of Love

Feb
14th

Valentine’s Day – there’s no other holiday in existence that is as much loathed as it is loved.

While some people live for the moment that February 14th rolls around, ready to shower and be showered with gifts and adoration, others snarl at the lead-up to the day that promotes a consumerist version of love. It’s a holiday that has become a way to celebrate romantic love, and for anyone not in a relationship, it can act as a reminder of being single, unattached, alone – a ‘ticket for one’ kind of existence.

But there are many different kinds of love, love that is much stronger than any feelings of passion or lust, love that has gone through more than a bouquet of roses can express….

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There’s the love you have for your sibling, your very first best friend, the person who knows you better than anyone else in the world, the person who can read your mind just by the raised eyebrow on your face. It’s the love that formed when you were kids and it was the two of you against the world, teaming up against mum and dad in a solidarity that went unspoken. It’s the love that evolved over time, as you drifted apart in your teenage years, finding yourselves as individuals, carving your own paths. It’s the love that brought you closer than ever as you grew into adults, with scars from all the friends who had hurt you in high school, now finally realizing what your mum meant when she said ‘Friends come and go, but a sister lasts forever.’ It’s the love that comes from knowing you have a true ‘other half’, despite how many miles stretch between you.

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And there’s the love you have with your parents, the love that has been present since day one, the love that they have showered upon you without hesitation or compromise simply because you’re you. It’s the love that grew as you did, the unwavering love that guided you through the bumps and bruises of childhood. It’s the love that withstood your teenage years, when you were sullen and rude and rebellious, and they knew that even though you often put friends before family, you would eventually find your way home to them. It’s the love that had you sobbing the day you moved away from home, leaving the warm little nest they had so carefully built for you, knowing things would never be the same and the daily phonecalls would turn into weekly chats no matter how much you promised. It’s the love you feel when, even as an adult, they’re the first people you call when something goes wrong, the only people whose soothing words can make you feel better, and the two people whose opinion really matters in this world. It’s the love that brings you to tears when you look back and finally realize the sacrifices they made for you, the everyday favours that went unnoticed and the unconditional support that was offered without even having to ask.

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Then there’s that love that happens when a new baby is born into your life, and whether you become a parent or an aunt or a grandma, you can’t remember what life was like before they took their first breath. It’s the love that happens when you cradle that baby in your arms and everything seems right in the world, when that baby can turn even the saddest moments into moments of joy. It’s the love when you realize that you would – without a moment of hesitation – do anything for that baby, putting their needs before yours, and for the first time in your life understanding what it is to be completely unselfish.

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There’s the love that comes from finding a best friend, a soul mate, a family member you choose for yourself. It’s the love that keeps you laughing for hours, lingering over Sunday brunches and turning into afternoon Netflix binges. It’s the love that has stuck by you through single life, summer flings and long-term relationships, never being the person to ditch you just because a new guy’s in the picture. It’s the love that rushes to your side at the sign of a broken heart, vowing to forever hate the person that hurt you and never allowing you to feel alone in your pain. It’s the love that shows up at your door with a bottle of wine and three bags of chips when you’re single on Valentine’s Day, even when you’re both trying to ‘eat clean’. And if you’re lucky, you’ll find a few of these in your lifetime.

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Of course there’s romantic love, the special kind of love that encompasses a little bit of everything, the love that makes our hearts swell with joy and burst with pain. It’s the kind of love that evolves, from a lust-driven hormone-raging passion into a companionship – a love that needs to be nurtured more than any other kind of love. It’s the hardest love to sustain, the most hurtful love to get over and yet the easiest to find. It’s a complicated love, ranging from lust to lingering to unrequited, but when you find the right person, the person who makes you a better version of yourself, it can be the most rewarding kind of love.

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And then there’s the greatest love of all – the love you have for yourself. When you can finally look in the mirror and no longer focus on what you previously considered imperfections and failures, but instead be truly comfortable and happy with who you are. It’s the love that happens when you can feel proud of yourself for your accomplishments and the person you’ve become – when you realize that being in your own company is just as wonderful as being in anyone else’s. When you realize that your value is not weighted in the opinions of others, and that their actions say more about themselves than they do about you. And when that kind of love comes along, you can open yourself up to endless love from many people, knowing that even if their love eventually fades, the relationship you have with yourself is strong enough to heal any kind of battle wounds.

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So you see, there really is more than one kind of love. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes a little wider and look past the roses and chocolates to see it.


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