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A guide for Valentine’s Day

LOVE, Lust or Infatuation? Nowadays saying “I LOVE YOU” seems to be so easy and ordinary that it is as if we were just saying “HI” or “HELLO” to someone. But the gravity of such a remark has overreaching implications. To LOVE someone implies a strong emotional bond that goes beyond mere acquaintances to which a level of personal intimacy is formed among the individuals engaged in this loving process. So before saying, “I LOVE YOU” to someone, one must be sure of what he or she really feels. For it is after differentiating Love from Infatuation and Lust that a meaningful relationship is formed.

Love must be a journey towards self-discovery. Summer Flings are most often a result of boredom and not love. The decision to love someone is because we feel empty (not because we have nothing to do or as if it was fashionable to do so), and that we strive to look for that special someone who would fill-in this void in us as we aspire for completeness. But how do we find that “one true love” if we ourselves do not know who we are and what kind of emptiness is lurking within us? We cannot give what we do not have. We must first learn to love ourselves before we can love another person.

Love must be historical. To love someone means that you have shared concrete experiences together. And that in each situation you have shared, you have grown to know each other more without any deception or fanfare. In life, we would constantly wear “masks” with the hope of pleasing the objects of our affection, only to discover in the end that we have lost a sense of who we are. And that is not Love! When someone loves you, that love completes who you are and not rob you of your identity. Reveal your TRUE SELF, and if that person truly loves you, he or she will accept you for who you really are!

Love must be creative. In fairy tales, we see the profound transformation of people in love. Like for instance in the “Frog Prince”, the kiss from a fair maiden transformed the frog into a man and not into a tadpole. Love can awake us from sleep (e.g. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty) and not fatally lead us into coma. True love brings out the best in us, and together with the one we love grow to the fullness of our potentials. So sharing the company of a person that draws only “the darkness” in us is waking up to the reality that we are not truly in love.

Love must be unconditional. When you love someone you don’t say … I LOVE YOU IF … or I LOVE YOU BECAUSE … but you say, I LOVE YOU INSPITE OF. Love isn’t conditional. You don’t love someone because of a predetermined set of circumstances but you love someone simply because you have accepted him or her despite his or her imperfections and idiosyncrasies. And through the loving process, each of you have pledged to support each other to help overcome personal weaknesses, and to share your life together in sickness or in health, for richer or for poorer, until the end of your lives.

Love must be sacred and eternal. God must be at the center of all our love encounters. For God did not only teach us how to love but he himself is the epitome of love. And in entrusting to God our loving process (inclusive of all the people we have chosen to love), we enable His divine guidance and grace to direct our loving encounters to his heavenly will. The commitment we share with the person we love is thus strengthened and blessed by God to bear fruit. In God, Love knows no boundaries. The transcendence of love beyond “time and space” is made possible through God who journeys with us and with the ones we love.

In the end, only fools rush into love. True love is a process that enables us to travel with another individual towards mutual personhood. It is a commitment to share oneself not only to complete one’s own being but to bring a sense of wholeness as well to the one we love. Linear equation teaches us that 1 + 1 = 2 but in love 1 + 1 = 1. And it is only in understanding this great equation of love that we can begin to say to another … I LOVE YOU!

As Pope Francis would explain. “LOVE IS PATIENT. Patience is a quality which makes one act not on impulse and avoids giving offense. Love leads one to compassionately accept the other person even when he or she acts differently than I would like and has the right to live in this world just as they are. And LOVE IS NOT RUDE. It is gentle, thoughtful, pleasing and not harsh, abrasive or rigid. It abhors making others suffer. Rather, it is courteous, sensitive and respectful of the other’s freedom leading one to wait until the other opens the door of his/her heart. For this, a KIND LOOK is essential”.


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