There are five types of love: agape, eros, philia, self-love, and storge. On Valentine’s Day, the focus is predominantly on eros – the romantic love. But if you’re not involved in an amorous relationship, this day can be nauseating, heart-breaking, or just plain dreadful. The day is almost over, hang in there! Apart from the commercialism of love, Valentine’s Day could be an opportunity to improve your love capacity in several different ways. Here are some ideas to shift from that lovey-dovey stance to an equally affirming one. Try this later tonight, tomorrow, next month, or next Valentine’s Day.
1) Agape – unconditional love: Volunteer one day at a shelter or a neighborhood charity. Showing love to another through your gift of selflessness and time is of utmost value to those who have seemingly nothing to offer back to you. However, there is something magical in being the recipient of someone else’s sincere gratitude. Agape is that God-love, the highest form of charity, a love that transcends circumstance. And, okay, if God or religion is not your thing – volunteer your time at a pet shelter. Oh those animals – they got it right with the unconditional love. Pet therapy is amazing!
2) Philia – friendship love: Make a date with your bestie, a good neighbor, a nice co-worker. Go hang out at the coffee shop, diner, nail salon, golf course, shooting range, or shopping mall. Time with another is time well-spent. To have friends, first, show yourself to be friendly!
3) Eros – Yeah, yeah…roses, chocolates, diamonds and rubies, dinner reservations, hotel stays, naughty lingerie…yeah, yeah…But here’s my thought: I truly don’t celebrate “Valentine’s Day” because every day I expect to be loved, honored, cherished, and valued. I find that dinner on VD can be rushed, restaurants packed, food pre-prepped from days prior, flowers die prematurely because they wereharvested too soon to meet the demand of consumerism. And the fake tags of SALE on the jewelry…the mark-upsto mark down…huuummmm. So, you pay EXTRA TOP DOLLAR for mediocrity. See...now this day doesn’t sound like you’re missing out on a whole lot, right? And for laughs…VD…get it? LOL
4) Self-love – honoring yourself: Here’s a good challenge. Say to yourself, “I am worth it!” Now, mean it! Set your precedent to be treated well by establishing your standard.Speak well of yourself so that you will not tolerate someone else talking down to you. Spoil yourself so that you will not stand for someone else trying to sully your big dreams. Hold yourself in high regard in order to prevent someone else from soiling your character or marring your name.
5) Storge – parent-child love: Build your child(ren)’s self-image by showering with love, attention, and acceptance. This was the basis of Dear Evan Hansen. The main character, Evan, a senior in high school, suffered from anxiety and depression. From a psychiatric standpoint, his emotional distress emanated from his familial milieu: divorced parents, an absentee father who acquired another family and never kept in touch with Evan since 6 years old. However, not only Evan suffered from self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. Seemingly all the teens had their own degree of emotional suffering – along with their parents. I highly recommend seeing the play. Last week’s turnout at the Straz was amazing. It was impressive to see all the multi-generational families and diverse groups of friends in attendance. I haven’t seen the movie, nor read the book – but I am told the movie is fantastic. I saw a little bit of my(old) self in Heidi Hansen: the workaholic single (widowed )parent. Indeed, you want to do good by your kids, and you work to support their/your lifestyle. Yet, there’s nothing like taking the time to just chillout with them. No time schedule: just hangin’ out. No talk of what they are/aren’t doing right…just chillin’, being silly. Keeping promises. Being PRESENT! So, log-off and go love-on your kids…it’s essential to their mental well-being.