So you have love in your life -but what kind of love? Love comes in all different forms, and it doesn’t always include the romantic version that we so often associate with the word. In fact the “L” word seems to be thrown around a lot in our everyday usage: I love pizza, I love the snow, I love singing at the top of my lungs in the car where nobody else can hear me(thankfully). But what about love as a strength? We as humans inherently have this strength but still can’t see past it’s traditional use and understanding set by the holiday season and the holiday economy.
So why am I talking about this anyway? Because with Valentines Day just around the corner, our economy and our social networks are inundated with what the traditional concepts and understandings of what love is. We often forget that there are other kinds outside the Hallmark romance we have created for ourselves. That it isn’t something that we can just buy at the store, or referenced with a movie quote. It’s a strength that we have in all of us. We pull on this strength in our everyday lives, and if we take the time to recognize it and celebrate those strengths with others we could fill our day (and someone else’s) with even more love.
Despite it being a strength that we all possess and more importantly a strength we share with so many people, we still seem to protest that we don’t have enough love in our lives. The reason is that love; from past to present has always been complicated. What we tend to fumble with the definition of the word and, even more so, understanding how to express it in its many forms. But VIA has composed it in a way that helps us easier understand how we give love and receive it.
VIA explains that there are four kinds of love that are attributed to this strength: Attachment, Companionate, Romantic and Compassionate.
- Attachment is that innate kind of love that you feel for your children, your parents, brothers and sisters.
- Companionate represents the kind of love you have for your friends and acquaintances. It’s platonic and is a chosen emotion similar to how you would choose your friends.
- Then there is romantic love, which is the form we most often reference when talking about this strength. It’s passionate, fire hot and filled with emotion. We share this love with our significant others daily.
- But how do we love other humans? Well that’s what compassionate describes. It’s altruistic in nature and dives deep beyond the surface and accepts a person for who she/he is, regardless if they are friend or foe.
So in the month of February, seek out love in all its forms! As Valentines Day approaches, take a closer look at all the areas in your life that you feel or share love. Recognize the different kinds of love you share with all of the people in your life. Share those reasons, whether it’s a romantic partner, a friend, relative or even someone you don’t know as well. Expressing that love can improve their day and yours. Smile more, write a card to a friend and express what their presence in your life means to you, or share a particular strength you see in someone, or even surprise someone with a random act of kindness. Be deliberate in recognizing the strengths you see in others. But most importantly, love yourself. Take time to truly appreciate and love who you are and what strengths you have to offer the people in your life!