Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

What “I Love You” Means

Love is complicated. Love makes people crazy. Love can be euphoric.

I think the best summation I’ve read of love is from Cheryl Strayed, bestselling author of “Wild” and “Tiny Beautiful Things.” In the latter, she explains her definition:

“A proclamation of love is not inherently ‘loaded with promises and commitments that are highly fragile and easily broken.’ The terms you agree to in any given relationship are connected to, but not defined by, whether you’ve said ‘I love you’ or not. ‘I love you’ can mean I think you’re groovy and beautiful and I’m going to do everything in my power to be your partner for the rest of my life. It can mean I think you’re groovy and beautiful but I’m in transition right now, so let’s go easy on the promises and take it as it comes. It can mean I think you’re groovy and beautiful but I’m not interested in a commitment with you, now or probably ever, no matter how groovy or beautiful you continue to be.”

This is part of one of her Sugar advice columns, where she continues:

“The point is, Johnny, you get to say. You get to define the terms of your life. You get to negotiate and articulate the complexities and contradictions of your feelings.”

You get to say. And if anyone you love starts to tell you that your definition of love must match theirs, it’s time for a serious conversation. Perhaps this is why love goes so wrong so often – we stop accepting our partner’s definition and instead try to make them fit into ours. Accept the love, or don’t. But don’t try to change it.

She concludes with, “Be brave, Be authentic, Practice saying the word ‘love’ to the people you love so when it matters the most to say it, you will.”

Happy Valentine’s Day.

10 characteristics that reflect real love

By no means do I claim to be an expert at relationships and love, but my experiences in life – especially in the last few years – have definitely taught me to recognize real love vs. self love (ego). I’ve read about it, talked a lot about it (gotta love therapy) and luckily, experienced both sides. Isn’t that the only way to really learn and appreciate something anyway?

So, in honor of this silly Hallmark holiday we call Valentine’s Day, here’s what I’ve come to recognize as real, selfless love from – or for – another human being. (Or dog… because dogs seem like they got this down long ago…) 

  1. Selfless – even when there’s a desire to be selfishWE
  2. Thoughtful – even when one is “too busy”
  3. Giving – in spirit and time (much more valuable than money or gifts)
  4. Supportive – not jealous or envious
  5. Understanding – not angry, even when passionately arguing
  6. Forgiving – no one is perfect
  7. Attentive –  truly knowing your partner because of it
  8. Reflective – always thinking about how to make the relationship better
  9. Respectful – in voice and actions, under any circumstance
  10. Faithful – always. If you are truly in love, this isn’t difficult

I Love…

  1. the sound of rain on the rooftop on a late summer night
  2. when my son gets excited about learning something new
  3. the way my three dogs take over the furniture
  4. making someone feel so special, they can’t help but beam with smiles
  5. white lights
  6. the look of lemons in a jar
  7. a good glass of wine
  8. getting a card in the mail
  9. that I’ve learned that whole “love is patient and kind, not selfish or boastful” saying actually is true and does exist
  10. seashells
  11. bear hugs
  12. kisses on the forehead
  13. realizing someone is truly a great friend
  14. a pair of sexy high heels and somewhere to wear them
  15. technology
  16. the smell of a baby’s head
  17. puppy breath
  18. water: the ocean, a lake, a pool – just put me in it
  19. food
  20. coffee
  21. the smell and feeling of clean sheets
  22. making jewelry
  23. word games
  24. a fire in the fireplace
  25. oysters
  26. my family
  27. my Ford Expedition – especially when it’s full of sand, beach chairs and towels
  28. my Stand Up Paddleboard
  29. the euphoria of running and finishing a marathon
  30. my sons’ smiles, especially when they are proud of themselves
  31. sparkly things
  32. snowfall
  33. finishing a good book
  34. bravery, not bravado
  35. a good workout
  36. paying bills
  37. working hard
  38. meeting goals
  39. decorating a Christmas tree
  40. a good view
  41. rocking chairs on porches
  42. the color purple
  43. overcoming adversity
  44. helping someone who doesn’t even know you
  45. getting someone that perfect gift that you can barely wait to give it to them
  46. driving fast
  47. seeing clearly
  48. watching something grow
  49. order among chaos
  50. being a Mom

What do you love?

Happy Valentine’s Day!