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July 24, 2021

Love from a Partner is Special, but it’s not the Only Love we Need.

Hearted by

~

I lay in bed, slightly on my side, with my hair covering my face.

The scent of coffee from a distance invades my senses. “Hey,” I hear him say.

I flutter my eyes open and see his tall figure standing in the doorway. My heart instantly beats faster at the sight of him. I think to myself, “I f*cking love this man.”

Did I love this man? Abso-f*cking-lutely. I waited my entire life for him. I wished for the moment when I would fall completely, madly in love with someone. I even prayed for it. He was the most amazing man I’ve ever met.

Our relationship was intense, deep, and cosmic on every level.

But was this really all that love was?

We spend an awful lot of time putting our energy into finding love. I was in search of my true love—my soulmate. The one I was supposed to be with.

But love isn’t just about giving to and receiving from a partner. Love blooms in different areas of our lives. Our entire lives are filled with love all around us. The best friend’s love. A sister’s love. A pet’s love.

A sister’s love is protective, caring, and unconditional. It is unique and unbreakable.

Laying in the same bed, we were sad remembering our mom. We held hands underneath the yellow sheets and cried. A sister’s love is unconditional. Yes, there were fights and borrowing each other’s clothes without asking. But she never forgot my birthday no matter where I was traveling or where I lived. I know this might not sound magical, but to my heart, it was. She was the only family member I had who never forgot about my birthday, and even from a distance, she celebrated with me.

She would call me sometimes and tell me I was her best sister, even though I was her only one. I would smile and simply say, “I love you. You are too.”

A sister is our first best friend. The one we share our cookies with, but also the one with whom we pull each other’s hair. It is the ever simple love. A family love that is nurturing, caring, and understanding.

Our stories are different. Love may be exchanged in different ways for each of us.

My family’s love represented care, a safe home to live at, discipline, and teaching us about responsibility. While nurturing and loving weren’t items on the menu, it didn’t mean there was any less love.

Some people show love with hugs and others by providing a plate of food every single day. Love is not defined by a specific word; it is by showing how much we care.

Then comes the most tender love: love from a pet.

A pet’s love is real, loyal, and devoted. My first one was a black french poodle. We would go to bed at the same time and he would fall asleep on my pillow with his paw touching my head. In the mornings, he would wake up first and lick my face. I would say, “Not yet, Goldo.” Then we would lay down again until we woke up together.

Every day, he would wait for me until I came back from work and welcome me home with the most loving party I ever received.

A pet becomes our family. We talk the same silent language where caresses and kisses are the words we speak.

There’s also the extraordinary love, our friend’s love for us. This is the kind of love that is selfless, fun, and giving.

I feel love when a friend recognizes my sad “hellos” over the phone and shows up at my doorstep with ice cream. Our friends are the first people to cheer us on when we accomplish great things. They are in our corner for every fight this world throws at us. These people are irreplaceable.

A friend is someone we handpicked to be a part of our lives and share our sad days, happy moments, and our everyday life.

And then, there’s the precious love of doing what we love.

There’s nothing more rewarding than the love of doing what we love and feeling that it loves us back, knowing that we’re adding to this world and connecting in our own special way. It can be through writing, managing, creating, or designing. Or it can be through Feng-Shuing the hell out of our home, using law to defend people, painting, or even teaching. This is love in its purest form because it includes others and is, in fact, done for other people. To be of service is to love.

And the big love: self-love. This kind of love represents strength, courage, and sweet kindness. It’s that love within ourselves. It feels passionate, sometimes extremely hurtful, like a burning pain in our chest, when we are not in connection with who we are. But when we are, it is damn magical. Sometimes, it looks like sitting on the kitchen floor, feeling hopeless, and on other days, it looks like typing on our laptop, building that side hustle that will take us exactly where we want to go.

Self-love is an off-the-shoulder, comfy sweater, a laptop with a blank page, and a fresh, steaming vanilla coffee (or whatever is your favorite drink).

It’s those mornings spent alone with a cup of coffee and the feeling of being satisfied with who we are, knowing that we are enough. It is loving all parts of ourselves—the good, the bad, and, especially, the crazy.

We are made for connection. With our hearts and minds open, love simply turns into magic.

Love is silliness with a side of whimsical. It is filled with laughter and joy. It is that smile that actually hurts. It is the laughter that consumes our soul, until we need a potty break.

Love is being open and getting real. It’s being brave enough to open ourselves fully and completely to let it pour out. It’s about being strong enough to allow it to come in.

No one who ever conquered love came at it with a shield, half genuine, and ready to offer fear and doubt. They came at it raw and naked, with everything to lose and everything to gain.

Love is compassion with our hearts in it. It’s feeling within and accepting all that it is. It’s giving without even knowing. It’s giving our children without thinking twice, providing them with a caring home, food on the table, and the tools to function in this world so they can enjoy it.

Love is our heart on fire, and everyone deserves to feel it. If we just look closely, it is there.

If we place our hands on our hearts and close our eyes, we can feel it. Such is love, and we can share and give it in all kinds of ways. Passionately kissing the person we love, petting our cats or dogs, cooking a delicious, mouth-watering lasagna for our family, or sharing chocolate ice cream with our best friends, love lives there.

Love is that first sip of coffee every morning.

Love is when we hold our newborn baby for the first time.

Love is inside that bite of buttery, mashed potatoes that our family made for us because we were craving it.

Love is wanting to exchange our hearts with our sister so she doesn’t have to feel the pain alone.

Love is that look on our grandmother’s face that reflects she believes in us.

Love is giving up our lunch to our best friend when we know they are hungry.

I was so busy trying to fall in love that I almost missed the love all around me. The love that was always there. The love we didn’t even have to work for. It just was.

A partner is love alongside all the other forms of love. Falling in love with someone is truly special, but it’s not the only love that exists.

If we find ourselves feeling lost when it comes to romantic love or walking with our heads down wishing to find it, let’s keep our heads held high so we don’t miss all the love that is bursting around us.

We were born to love and be loved. It was never about finding that one person to give it all to us; it was always f*cking here, within us, around us, in everything we touch, every kiss, every hug, and all that we do.

So let’s love and be loved like there is no goddamn tomorrow.

~

For more from Sharon.

For more from Michelle

 

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S. DeNofa & M. Gutierrez

author: Sharon DeNofa & Michelle Gutierrez

Image: josiesillustrations/Instagram

Editor: Rasha Al Jabi