To the girl who is learning love

It is Valentine’s Day weekend so what a better time than this to talk about love. I know there is a lot of variety around the idea of Valentine’s Day and especially in the college age range but stay with me on this point. In high school, I learned about three different types of love, agape, philia, and eros. Philia is the brotherly type of love, eros is intimate love, and agape which could be seen as the most important is a love that is sacrificial and unconditional. This kind of love is the love I want to focus on.

Being in a relationship is great and not being in a relationship is just as great, it all depends on where you are in your life. Some people hate Valentine’s Day, celebrate anti-valentine’s day, and throw pity parties for themselves. While on the other hand, some people live for Valentine’s Day, to post about how much they love their significant other, exchange gifts, and really prove they love each other. And some people are in between, but no one way of thinking about this holiday is wrong or right. Personally, I do not think it is necessary to have one day to show someone we love them. While it sometimes just is used as a reminder to show love more than usual, I think we should show each other love every day.

I have been intentionally focusing on how to best love those around me. I am not currently in a relationship, and I am beyond content learning to love on my own. But I am learning how others need love and how to best give it to them. I don’t know if you have ever heard of the 5 love languages, but I think they are important to know (it’s like how people are obsessed with the enneagram, but it’s the love languages for me). So, the 5 love languages are 1. Quality time, 2. Acts of service, 3. Physical touch, 4. Gift, 5. Words of affirmation. The way I show and receive love is through physical touch and quality time, but of course everyone is different. One of my friends show love through acts of service but receive it through physical touch and words of affirmation. Everyone is so different in the ways they receive and give love, which is amazing because we were not called to be like one another.

I know some people do not like physical touch (which is hard because I just want to snuggle everyone), so it makes me think more intentionally about how to love them. I know one of my roommates receives through quality time, so I make sure to spend extra time with her. While another one is acts of service, so I will make sure my dishes are done and the blankets are folded to make her feel a little better when she gets home from work.

My point in giving all these examples is to show that loving someone is more than gifts and telling them you love them and balling out on one dinner a year. Loving someone is letting them choose where you get ice-cream that night, it’s folding their laundry when they are gone, it’s picking them up from class, so they don’t have to walk in the cold. We aren’t told to love people big one day a year, we are called to love everyone each day, unconditionally. We are called to love each other despite our flaws, because none of us our perfect. We are called to love in big and small ways, we are to be sacrificial with the way we love just as Jesus was.

So, to the girl who is learning love, you can hate or love Valentine’s Day if you want. But I ask that you begin to open your heart to those who it may be hardened to. I ask you begin to think of others before yourself, giving them your love while asking for nothing in return. Be sacrificial and unconditional in the way you love and live, and I promise you will begin to feel a difference within yourself.

So much love to all. xo Payton