Love Your Neighbor as Yourself - Love for Valentines
Feb 14th is Valentines Day in the U.S. and other countries around the world. It is traditionally, a day to send a card, often anonymously, to a person one is romantically involved with or attracted to. It’s also extended to friends and family to show love or give gifts.
What if you don’t have someone to be your Valentine? You can show love to yourself. There is a scripture (Mark 12:31) that says love your neighbor as yourself. We hear that often and think of it a good way to be. Loving your neighbor means everyone, even the people you don’t like. The one thing most people don’t pay attention to is the part that says “as yourself”
If you have no love for yourself, it will make it very difficult to show love to others. If you see yourself as less than, you will treat yourself and others that way. If you don’t have anyone to spend Valentine’s day with, spend it with the person you should love the most – you.
One of my favorite ‘Visitors” to my garden sanctuary is a pair of doves that come to feast at the bird feeder. They have been coming for years and I believe I saved one of them when my cat George decided to catch one and bring it in for a present. The dove was alive and ok as my cat sat there so proud he had brought me a present. I slowly moved to get the dove and put it back outside when my cat released it and it flew to my desk area.
It was quite the task to get the dove out of the house. It flew to the fence and sat there a bit as if to say thank you, then flew off. These types of doves mate for life and are always together. I am thankful the other one didn’t lose it’s mate that day. They return regularly with a group of smaller birds to eat the seed I put out in the feeder. The smaller birds let me know when they are unhappy that the feeder is empty. They come as a group and sit on the fence chirping. I’m sure they are telling me off for letting it go empty. LOL.
Today, many people’s idea of love is about a feeling. They feel “in love” then at some point they don’t feel like they are in love with that person any longer. Then they leave them for that next feeling of love. The commitment to work on the relationship isn’t as important as their beliefs that they need to leave to be happy. Many people keep chasing that euphoric feeling that comes at the beginning and when it wears off they think they aren't in love any longer when actually the love is simply settling in and changing.
I think we can learn something about commitment from the dove’s. They mate for life and don’t leave their mate behind when they find something that they think is better or they don’t want to be committed any longer. Of course dove’s and humans are different but I wish more people were committed like dove’s.
Unfortunately in my younger years I was not able to feel love or anything else due to protecting (stuffing) my feelings in order to survive growing up with sick alcoholic parents.
I spent a lot of years wanting to feel love but didn’t love myself. In fact I didn’t like who I was and thought I was a loser based on what my mother constantly told me growing up. It wasn’t until I realized I needed to do some work in order to let go of a lot of resentment I had towards both my parents. I had to realize my past didn’t define my future and I didn’t have to accept those lies that I was told as a child.
If you are alone this year for Valentines Day like I will be, take yourself out or have a special meal or treat for yourself at home. Watch a movie if that’s what you like to do. Do something to celebrate loving you. While at times I struggle with feelings of loneliness, as I’m sure many do, I make it a point to get myself out of my house and at the minimum, take a drive somewhere.
If you have someone in your life that you are in a relationship with or you have family and close friends, don’t take them for granted. At this writing we have lost 2.31 million people worldwide and 464K people in the US to COVID. There are millions of people who won’t get to see their loved ones ever again here on earth. Don’t take those people in your life for granted. Tell your family and friends you love them, you care, you are thinking about them. You never know when it might be the last day that you see them. I hear people say “I was just talking to him last night” or she just texted me this morning”
You can’t get a do over if they are gone.
Love your neighbor as yourself, love yourself and show everyone around you your love, even if they don’t deserve it.
Nakupenda (Love in Swahili)