Love Is…

According to the calendar it’s February 14th, or Valentine’s Day.💘

Every year for as long as I can remember, I find myself dreading this day and I know I’m not alone.

If you’re single and not in a relationship, February 14th can be lonely as “single awareness day.”

Perhaps you’ve lost a dear loved one and Valentine’s Day reminds you of what once was, as your grief resurfaces. Others might be in relationship, but instead of experiencing love and joy, it’s consistently painful and toxic.

In my world, February 14th is my birthday…the day to celebrate my birth and life.

Every year as the calendar flips, my sense of foreboding increases as I anticipate “my birthday.”

My sweet family has tried everything over the years to make my birthday happy. They’ll do absolutely anything I ask and are very thoughtful and attentive; but on February 14th there’s still a small deep place in my soul that no one can go with me.

I’m not worried about getting older, that’s a privilege many do not get to experience.

I was raised by a mentally-ill, abusive and narcissistic parent that is still too difficult to have a relationship with even to this day.

This parent never visits, rarely calls, texts or communicates (despite my requests or efforts) and when trying to reach out, the parent is usually extremely insensitive and manipulative.

While I’ve had extensive counseling and worked through childhood trauma, every year when my birthday rolls around, I find myself swimming in a fresh round of PTSD.

I am loved, valued, appreciated, stable and well taken care of. Despite these remarkable gifts, I often wonder if the wound of my birthday and what it reminds me of will ever completely heal?

Dressed like Cupid for today’s run

Running, kindness and writing continue to help me process and cope with negative emotions.

Earlier this week, I was surprised to hear a psychologist speak very directly about what love is and what it is not.

They actually quoted Paul in the Bible: “Love is patient, love is kind…. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails…” (1st Corinthians 13:4-8)

For years I tried to reach out and have a deeper relationship with this parent but when those efforts consistently left me deeply hurt and rejected; I eventually accepted the reality that I might not ever get to have a healthy relationship with this parent during my mortal life and that it’s okay and healthy to spend my energy elsewhere, especially with those who truly love me.

Love perseveres, heals and love forgives, but real love isn’t toxic. I’m grateful to have known real lasting love in my life and for the wonderful people that have patiently helped me pick up the pieces and sift through the complexities.

Be kind and sensitive to others on Valentine’s Day. Today choose to do something nice and thoughtful for someone, ideally a total stranger. We often we don’t know what’s going on deep inside their mind and heart. 💗

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