Thinking about Love on Valentine’s Day

Last year, I wrote a blog post that had a great response from my editors. The first version I wrote resulted in a quick email back to me. A simple “wow.” Then 30 minutes later, I received four independent requests to tone down the descriptions of what makes me happy. I was told that the description of the kiss was too intimate, that I didn’t need to mention the lips or the heat of my loved one’s breath, that the movement on the dance floor was too passionate… Were they telling me my blog post on happiness was too happy?

When I write, I write like I talk. I write for the reader: to touch them, to reach them, to describe what is common in all of us. I don’t hold back. I am a businessman, but I am not a prude. I’m alive, not dead. I am an observant, living human being who is not embarrassed to talk about my emotions or what I am passionate about. What I feel is not dissimilar to what you feel.

Society has a habit of restricting how we feel, what we think, and what we do. If society, our community, creates this barrier and we blindly follow that rule, how can we be human? How can we care about others, be happy about their successes and achievements or see the world through their eyes and empathize? How can we be happy in our own lives if we hold back?

Love is an important part of happiness. Yes, love can be torturous and misplaced; it can turn us inside out. But it is the single most important emotion and the deepest feeling that we have. It keeps us focused, protective and caring. It allows us to bond with our companions, our children and our clan. Love is the strongest driving force in our lives, overpowering hate, greed and anger. I will stack love against them all.

This Valentine’s Day post is about love—not cupids, hearts, kisses, dancing or last-minute dinner reservations in a crowded restaurant.

What does LOVE mean to you? What do you love—truly, truly love? Not a passing lust or a fleeting sensation but a lasting, long-lasting LOVE.

Tell us what you love.

2 Comments on "Thinking about Love on Valentine’s Day"

  1. Conrad says:

    I love the feeling of waiting for someone to arrive at the airport. As I stand in the middle of an empty terminal at 2am after working 14 hours, I feel this sense of happiness knowing that she is one step closer to home with each minute that passes.

    As I wait for her, I am reminded that sometimes caring or loving someone makes us step outside of ourselves to do things we would not normally do otherwise. For me this came in the form of a sign, to let her know how much I missed her. At times I felt like I was holding my breath, only to find that it was her laugh and smile that awaited me too when she came through those doors.

    Even though I stood there holding a welcome home sign in the middle of an empty terminal, maybe it was her hug that followed shortly, which meant the most to me. It was where I received her sign, in the form of affection, which reminded me that maybe that was all I ever needed ….to know that she felt the same way about me too.

    Happy Valentine’s Day M.P.

  2. M.P. says:

    As a scientist, I find it difficult to take off my “science hat” from time to time. So on any given day, if you were to ask me what love is, I would probably talk to you about the different neurotransmitters and brain regions that are involved to create this sensation (I’ve actually written previously about it here: http://thevarsity.ca/2011/02/14/your-brain-on-love/). Then I would go on and talk about how love is important for attachment and pair-bonding and how it served an important function evolutionarily for the survival of the human species, and leave it at that.

    But when you ask me what love truly, truly means to me, and I stop and really think it, I find there are no ready answers.

    My experiences of love are diverse. They are contortions of the heart and a fragile tenderness. They are peaceful and wretched. They are warmth and contentment and being absolutely consumed. They are feelings I can hardly contain within my own body, so intense, too intense.

    I enjoy science for many reasons. It is interesting, intellectually satisfying, and provides me with explanations for the world around me. But there is something else about it that I am drawn to. Science to me, is impartial and dispassionate. In a word, it is invulnerable. It is this invulnerability that I use like a cloak to wrap around my mind, body, and heart, and keep me just detached enough.

    So when someone reaches out and shares his vulnerability with you, I find it startling. Startling enough to awaken me from this cocoon and make me slowly reach out in return. And the more I think about love, the more I realize, at this point and time in my life, that it is about being vulnerable.

    I had a really beautiful Valentine’s Day this year.

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