As we find ourselves circling around the valentine’s holiday let us make space to nurture authentic love. And while we’re at it, how about we dare to expand our definition and experience of love and deem it a state of being interdependent of circumstance or affiliation as opposed to contingent on it. In the words of Rumi, how about we “gamble everything for love.” 

Let us demonstrate that self-love, when embodied and practiced, is the epicenter of everlasting love. For it is self-love and subsequent honor that purports personal worthiness and freedom. This allows for unconditional acceptance of ourselves and of those around us. It is from this place of utter acceptance that we can best appreciate and support and nurture the dreams desires and struggles of ourselves and of others. Valentine’s season is a great time to step into this vast view and experience of love. 

Many of us set parameters on love. We make it stagnant and static. We confuse it with commitment. We mistake it for eternal promises. We convince ourselves that love is ubiquitous only if it’s form of expression is permanent. We try to contain love. We attest that it is only made valid with a ring or a family or a contract, two names on paper. 

And in this conceptualization we cut ourselves off from the very thing that we are so desperate to experience. We look for love more often than we experience it. We tell ourselves that real love is only romantic love. That real love is only a lifetime together. That real love is a solution to our problems. That it is a place to fall into, to shield and nurture us. We tell ourselves that to truly experience this miraculous joy we must find a specific someone with whom to share ourselves. We search for a soul mate and weed through interactions attempting to detect a life partner. 

In our efforts to “find” love we instead corrupt it. We taint it with the notion and insistence that love be romantic, that it lead to marriage, that it span decades. We quickly rewrite our past relationships as mistakes and lessons learned. We insist that if what we shared with this significant other had been “the real thing” then it wouldn’t have changed, it wouldn’t have ended with pain or upset or a fizzling out. But it would have endured to stand the test of time.

What if instead of looking at our relationships with others for love, we look first at our relationship with ourselves? What if we decide that love is surrounding us and is begging to pour out of us regardless of our relationship status? What if we decide to define love as a stance, an essence that each of us is always capable of? What if we see love as a vantage point and not a destination? What if we fall deeply and consistently in love with ourselves and let this blossoming of self-worth and marveling transfer to all aspects of our lives, including our relationships, be they platonic or romantic. What if we dare to live in love regardless of circumstance? What if we follow Rumi’s advice and gamble everything (even our beliefs) for love?

Blog Post by Sarah Campbell