The Valentine’s Project

The Valentine's Project.png

My idea for a Valentine’s Day post was to collect different interpretations on what love is from a variety of viewpoints. I wanted to show the fact that love isn’t just for those ‘in love’. I’ve asked friends, family and fellow bloggers the question:

“What does the word ‘love’ mean to you?”

The responses I have received are raw, honest, poetic at times and, perhaps most importantly, diverse. I wanted to share with you today, on Valentine’s Day, many people’s different viewpoints on the definition of love. What love means to each of these individuals may differ in wording, but beneath it all, we are all motivated by the love for the people who touch our hearts daily. I have decided to name this little collection ‘The Valentine’s Project’

I will now share with you some beautiful, varied perspectives on love…

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This dictionary definition style entry was submitted by my lovely friend Maddie. ❤ I love the simplicity of the message, that love is all encompassing and also the fact that it is strong. To me, the thought of love being anything but strong is something I can’t fathom. The strongest people I know are full of love. I also like the fact that she has used the word ‘like’ to suggest that love has to be motivated by knowing something or perhaps someone well for a period of time, to the extent of liking them and letting the relationship grow from there. That to me elegantly highlights the difference between lust and love. ❤

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The wonderful Kate from All the Trinkets (please visit her blog! I’m obsessed :p ) has got to be one of the nicest bloggers that I have ever had the good fortune of conversing with! ❤ I’ve got to say, every single time I read this, it hits me. Hard. I think that acknowledging the differences between yourself and others, and accepting that fact is such an important message. Also, talking about prejudice. We all have prejudged people at some point, whether verbally or choosing to keep that in our heads. We need to learn to love others regardless of whether we ‘get’ them or not. We cannot truly understand and get into the minds of anyone but ourselves, so we must love, nurture and respect others.

We should even be loving our enemies because that is how we turn enemies into friends. How we iron out the issues that can manifest themselves through selfishness. How many times have you said a snarky, unloving comment towards someone to get even? Did it feel good? How long did that ‘good’ feeling last? Usually, it isn’t very long, and that is because words hurt, so we should speak of love rather than bitterness and hatred. As Kate says in this post, (a must-read) you don’t even need to understand people and their situations to show compassion. All you require is respect for others. So very well said, Kate. ❤

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This poignant quote was written by one of my good friends, Briony. ❤ I think that ‘passion’ is such a good word to associate with love because it suggests that love is wild and uncontrollable, which it is. Love isn’t a switch we can just flick on and off; we feel deeply for those we love – be they friends, family or lovers – and that emotion is something we can’t just get rid of. I believe that this is why we experience heartbreak, (in all of its forms) because we care so deeply and invest ourselves in something that doesn’t end up turning out the way we want it to.

Also, the use of the word ‘entity’ – that love is living and breathing, that it grows and blossoms with us. The last four words to me, however, are the most important: “something special to you.” Love is something I don’t think we should have to justify to others – just because it doesn’t mean something to someone else, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love it. In fact, you should love it more because it is something all the more special and exclusive to you. ❤

“What does love mean to me? Love means zero in tennis. Mike Love is one of the Beach Boys. But seriously, love means alienation and rejection. Love is something so powerful that millions of songs and books and movies and the like are about it, but it all means nothing to me because it is not in my realm of experiences. I have experienced all of the heartache and pain and rejection that comes with relationships, but very little of the good times. And the way people make a big deal of Valentine’s Day just shows everything that is wrong with society’s warped view of love… if you really love someone, you should treat them like they are special every day. And even if I’ve never experienced that kind of love, that shouldn’t stop me from doing all I can to love others, in the platonic sense.”

This was submitted by Highway Pi. This blogger is a particularly good read if you are a deep thinker about the things that matter in life. At first, this humoured me, particularly with the first three lines, but then it got me thinking. We should show love towards people every single day, not just on one given day. As nice as it is to have a day dedicated to love, and as lovely as it may be to celebrate, especially for those in relationships, it is kind of twisted that we think any one day in the calendar should be THE day to treat those we care about with love. As with many of these ‘social’ holidays, the focus of many companies is not to care for the consumer, but is on commercialisation and cashing in on the fact that people are making grand gestures of love around the world on this particular day, February 14th. Focussing just purely loving people is And loving people platonically I believe is the best thing we can do in a world full of secularity and isolation.

IMG_2343.JPGThis statement was written by another friend, who decided to remain anonymous. ❤ Given the words, I was inspired to make some handwritten word art and do a little drawing of the rollercoaster of love. What hits me most is the fact that love is referred to as being a ‘rollercoaster’ and an ’emotional minefield’. Seeking love and acceptance can sometimes lead us to do things like guarding our flaws against people we care about so that they can grow to love us or carry on doing so. We do it in the name of love, and the ironic thing is that if people truly loved us then they would accept us, open arms, flaws and all. It’s difficult not to lose control when we are surrounded by love sometimes, but at least our actions are motivated by our hearts. ❤

This gorgeous artwork and the accompanying statement were sent to me by the deeply inspirational Grace of Following Him Beside Still Waters! The quote that she references has got to be one of my favourite biblical quotes, ever. Grace, the strength of your faith is incredible, and the influence it has on everything you write and do is truly admirable. To me, you are evidence of the impact of God’s love. And who better to talk about in your statement than God himself! I agree that the sacrifice that was made on the cross is the ultimate act of love. This helps to establish the point that love is selfless. St Paul says in his famous verses about love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, often used at weddings as a reading). And the most real, purest love is not an action made by personal gains or motivations, it is about care for the other person. I recently read a beautiful poem about the love of God on Grace’s blog, which was titled He Paid My Ransom. Please do click on that link, read the poetry and follow Grace’s blog – she is simply marvellous!

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Another one of my friends wrote this. The key word in this one is ‘affection.’ Affection means a gentle feeling of great likeness. St Paul says that love is gentle, and I would completely agree. Also, within the word ‘affection,’ you see ‘affect’. Love can affect all of our emotions and how we act. It can be uncontrollable at times, but generally, motivation by love is a good thing that will affect others positively.

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A simplistic statement embedded within the message of this post, this was the answer given to me by The Nostalgia Diaries. In a post about “Love is…” including the famous “Love is…” comic, it details this very important message. Please read the post, it’s beautiful.

And finally…

Me. I wanted to share with you some of my musings about love.

“Love is like a balloon – it holds no true shape or form, expanding and accommodating space in each and every heart you touch. When you lose someone you love, you feel an ache – a deflation in your chest. You’re gasping for more air, for someone to reinflate the balloon, to refill your heart with the love that is missing. But whatever happens, the heart will never be quite the same again – it is shaped by the flaws and scars that the consequences of love leave us with.

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Love is the missing puzzle piece in all of us – we long to fill the space with self-love, motherly, fatherly, brotherly, sisterly love. The love of God. The love of a best friend. The best friend who becomes a lover, or the lover who becomes a best friend. In whatever form it comes, we’re looking for it, and craving it in some way. Or maybe we’ve found it already. Maybe we’ve found it in romances, taking chances, first dates and wedding dances. Perhaps in late night conversations with the one person who ‘gets’ you, or even just a smile from a stranger. It’s everywhere we go – love surrounds us, and love is us.

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Love is so much more than a feeling; it is a living, breathing being that we require to live and thrive. To grow in so much more than height. To wear and carry so much more than clothing as you walk along the path of life. To love is to live. Love is just as much admitting that you are wrong, exposing your vulnerabilities, as it is perfect summer nights and showerings of kisses.

Love is infinite.” 

Why I decided to do this

I have been so inspired by the idea of finding love ever since I was young. I didn’t realise then that love came in so many different forms – friendship, family, romantic, faith, hobbies. Love has been surrounding me for so long and I’m so glad that I finally opened my eyes to see it. ❤

Having read the story of St Valentine, I realised that it was odd how Valentine’s Day has typically been used as a day to celebrate romantic love. For those of you haven’t heard the story, St Valentine was a priest who resorted to marrying couples in secret when it was against the law to practise Christianity. Whilst he was helping couples in their romantic lives, what he did was more admirable. His love for the church meant that he became martyred for marrying these people. He risked his life to join these two people to one another, within the church. That is what love is, and therefore Valentine’s day should be one day, of many, where we show every type of love.

By collecting all of these opinions and statements on love and presenting them here, I hope I have been able to show you that love is everywhere. That it is infinite and holds no bounds – you can’t be right or wrong about love in any way. It cannot be wholly defined.  Love is the reason why so many people helped me in my plea for statements in this project. Love is in the eyes of the reader who has had the heart to read this.

Remember, that love is in and is every single one of you reading this. Love is every person who contributed to this post to share what love meant to them. You are surrounded by the greatest gift, manifested in so many shapes and forms.

And so, I leave you with a famous quote on the subject of love by the Ancient Greek Philosopher Plato:

“At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.”

xoxo

Hannah

PS. Here’s a quick shoutout to Randomly Maggie! Her most recent post, 3 Last Minute GALentine’s Day DIYs, is awesome! Go check out her blog 🙂

 

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28 thoughts on “The Valentine’s Project

  1. Kate says:

    Hannah. You tell me every time you read my answer you’re hit hard.
    But /your/ answer? And this entire post? It blew me away like a balloon hitting a strong gust of wind. Especially when you likened love to a balloon, I was already holding my breath.
    This post is more than beautiful. As you said, it’s one of the many forms of love. Thank you for writing this. Really ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Following Him says:

    Wow, Hannah, this blew me away! 🙂 Comparing love to a balloon was utter genius! 😍 I enjoyed your post immensely. Great job, and also, I loved reading all the different responses you received! Wonderful quotes, all of you! ♥

    Thanks so much for linking to my artwork and my poem! ♥ “Grace, the strength of your faith is incredible, and the influence it has on everything you write and do is truly admirable. To me, you are evidence of the impact of God’s love.” Wow. 🙂 ♥ That means so much. I may cry. XD You saying that about me – wow, I don’t even know what to say. 💕 “And the most real, purest love is not an action made by personal gains or motivations, it is about care for the other person.” This reminds me of John 13:34&35: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” 😊 “I recently read a beautiful poem about the love of God on Grace’s blog, which was titled He Paid My Ransom. Please do click on that link, read the poetry and follow Grace’s blog – she is simply marvellous!” At this part, my face went crimson with blushing and tears of joy were starting. Thank you so much for the kind words! My heart is nearly bursting with the amount of happy it is feeling right now. 💗 I really love 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 as well; I didn’t realize it was used a lot in weddings (I haven’t been to many 😂) but that makes sense. 🙂

    Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! ♥

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hannah Grace says:

      Thank you very much ❤ I just felt inspired and luckily enough, lots of people wanted to help me 🙂 The quote is the best, I think it is so fitting! Thank you, and I hope you enjoy their blogs, for they are excellent 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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