All You Need Is Love

Since the day after Christmas, many have walked through stores and seen the commercialization of the next big holiday which we will be celebrating just eleven days from now. This coming holiday has come to be known as the “Holiday of Love.” Of course, we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day.

When we say, Valentine’s Day is the “Holiday of Love,” we often think of couples’ love, or companionship love, or sweetheart love, or passionate love, or the love you hear in those love songs played on radio, or Echo, or what we have programmed into our mobile devices. Some of these songs may be ones that might come across as mushy, gooey, and/or sticky, to some, but necessary to show how much one person cares for another. Unfortunately, though, Valentine’s Day has seemed to have become a couples’ “Holiday of Love.” It is unfortunate because when we use the word love, it should encompass all people. It should include all people. It should be given by all people, and it should be celebrated by all people.

Before we can celebrate love, we need to have an idea in our minds as to what love is. Love is hard to define, as we are all different, and we all have different ideas as to what love is, and what it entails, and what it encompasses.

Some of the aspects of love that maybe should, and definitely could, be included in, or added to, the definition and celebration of this upcoming “Holiday of Love” might include:

1. Giving – If we love someone, we need to be giving, and what we give must be given freely. We need to give, without expectation of receiving back. We need to give of ourselves. We need to give of our time. We need to give of our hearts and souls. We need to give praise. We need to give direction. We need to give guidance. We need to give assistance where we can. Included in that is physical assistance, emotional assistance, and spiritual assistance. Giving does not necessarily mean giving materialistic or monetary gifts, though if someone we care about, or maybe don’t even know, needs that kind of help, and we can assist them with a monetary gift or something they need, then isn’t that an expression of love for our fellow man?

2. Patience – Love is being patient with others. We sometimes need to realize that everyone we care about is not always going to get to where we want them to go, or they may take longer to reach a point we would like them to reach. We need to realize that people are individuals and can have different priorities than we do, and if theirs don’t match ours, we need to accept that and respect that, and that involves patience.

3. Understanding – Love means being understanding to others’ feelings, others’ priorities, others’ choices, and others’ perspective. Understanding is a huge aspect of love.

4. Tolerance – Love is being tolerant of others. That doesn’t mean tolerating as in just putting up with someone or something. It is respecting others’ views even if we don’t agree with them. It means respecting others’ choices, even if they are different from ours. It includes respecting other’s lifestyles, preferences, and orientations. Tolerance does not mean we have to like certain things, but we need to tolerate others’ choices.

5. Acceptance – Love needs to be accepting of others who share this earth with us. It requires all to follow the adage “live and let live,” respecting the way others choose to live, provided it is within the outlines of human decency and legal parameters. Love needs to erase envy and comparisons. It requires all to understand that though, “all men are created equal,” as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, all men, and women, don’t all have to think and do the same equally, that all are not going to look the same, have the same, or be the same. And again, we don’t have to like certain things ourselves, but we need to accept others’ personal world.

6. Respect – Love is respecting other’s rights, feelings, choices, opinions, and beliefs, even if they are different from what you, or I, might feel. If we want others to respect our personal feelings, choices, opinions, beliefs, we have to “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” Luke 6:31

7. Forgiving – Love is forgiving. It is knowing that we ourselves are not perfect and that we, too, will make mistakes, or push the boundaries, or maybe break a promise, but that’s what makes us human beings. It means using the expression, “That’s okay,” more often in our lives. It includes compassion and understanding. It requires hugs and handkerchiefs on both sides.

8. Non-Judgmental – Love requires being non-judgmental. It requires all to not determine a person’s human value by possessions, or opinions, or choices, or politics, etc. It includes not determining a person’s guilt or innocence with unfair bias, or guided by our own prejudices. It reminds us of the Bible passage which includes the statement, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” John 8

9. Unconditional – Love need to be unconditional. We can’t love someone part of the time, or just when they do something we like, or when they agree with us, or when they make us look good. Love needs to be forever, and without parameters.

10. Kindness – Love needs to be kind. It needs to be given with smiles, and hugs, and laughter, and forgiveness. It needs to be given without meanness, or bullying. It needs to be given the same way we would want it to be given to us. It needs to live by the saying, “In this world where you can be anything, be kind.”

11. Indestructible – Love needs to be able never to be destroyed, nor defeated. It needs to be able to weather any storm, any disagreements, or any differences. It needs to be able to defeat any bias, or prejudice, or meanness, or bullying. Love needs to be stronger than hate.

12. Illuminating – Love needs to light up people’s lives. It needs to shine brightly when there is darkness in someone’s life, or when we, or others, feel things around their, or our, world are in distress, and/or turmoil, at a particular time.

13. Friendly – Love needs to be friendly. Love needs to have more smiles more than frowns. It needs to have more laughter than tears. Love needs to wipe out road rage, violence, hatred, intolerance, unacceptance. It’s laughter and giggles need to overwhelm moaning and groaning. Personally this one I stumble on more that I’d like.

14.Universal – Love needs to be universal. It needs to include everyone, regardless of differences, status, monetary or property value, possessions, or job.

There are many more aspects that could be included in the infinite definition of love, but the discussion would be endless. This is a merely a fraction of them. And, as we prepare to celebrate the “Holiday of Love” in a week and a half, let us include everyone in the celebration. Let it not just be exclusive to couples, and let the gifts not be limited to jewelry, flowers, candy, restaurant dinners, or whatever external gifts we decide to give to that someone special. Let the majority of those gifts come from within ourselves.

As the Beatles sang, “All you need is love,” and as we recognize the quote from The Bible which stated, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” Corinthians 13:13, may all of us lovingly celebrate together and have a Happy Valentine’s Day.