My dad fell in love. Ever since my parents’ divorce, I’ve tried talking to them (separately, of course) about the possibility of finding a new partner. The pandemic has hit the entire family very hard, and even though we love one another very deeply, we have found ourselves annoyed, irritated, and mentally exhausted. Spending endless hours in the company of three people for months on end can, indeed, bring out the best and the worst in us. Naturally, the idea of finding a similar connection to someone new was, at best, intimidating.
But now, my dad, still dealing with chronic illness and health problems, has found someone who makes him feel like a teenage boy – giggly, smiling, rosy cheeks and all. Seeing him like this has inspired me to learn how to appreciate my own love for my partner, and his for me. Love has become a powerful driving force of positive change in all our lives, despite the pandemic and despite living in close quarters.
Starting with the self in your love story
Love manifests itself in a myriad of colorful, delicious ways. Being overwhelmingly self-critical, I’ve always struggled with loving myself, but I’ve never had trouble expressing devotion and love for those around me. And yet, it seems that there’s an untapped source of love for others when you deprive yourself of self-love.
Seeing my father get ready for a video chat with his sweetheart has made me aware of the fact that I rarely savor my quick morning showers or reading a good book. So I’ve done my best to pick up the odd lesson on self-love from my dad here and there, to apply some of that wisdom myself. It has done wonders for me!
Taking better care of myself and finding joy in all the little things in life has renewed my sense of gratitude, self-worth, and self-esteem. It has primed me for adding new layers of love in my relationship with others, too.
Love as a life-affirming force
On a deeply chemical level, love nudges your body to produce a slew of happy hormones, elevating your mood like no other event possibly could. What this means for you and me in everyday life is less cortisol, less stress and anxiety, better sleep, more zeal for being kind to yourself and others. You’ll find yourself eager to hit the gym and leave the muffins alone when you’re “high” on love. You’re inspired, motivated, energized.
Merely being around people who make you feel safe, loved, and comfortable in your own skin is enough to live life with more appetite and appreciation. It’s the best cycle of positivity you can experience. Much like self-love drives you to be kinder to others, love for others drives you to take better care of yourself.
Breaking out of self and society-imposed limits
Knowing no bounds, love can happen in the most unusual ways, places, and situations. That’s only possible when you genuinely let yourself abandon all the prejudice and expectations that come with the idea of all. We all have them. We idolize love and create romantic scenarios in which it couldn’t possibly make sense to meet and fall in love via a dating app. My dad has proven me wrong. The idea of mature dating today extends to online companionship and expanding your social circle online before you meet in person.
In the middle of the pandemic, in the unlikeliest of all places, my dad’s curiosity got him to “bump into” someone that has become very special in his life. In his own time, he freed his mind of any restrictions. The “I’m too old for that (insert your favorite swear word here)” mindset has been replaced by the “I can’t believe I haven’t tried this (insert said swear word here) before” attitude.
Now that he has overcome the social stigma of dating in his silver years (and in what way, mind you!), he finds himself eager to try other new things, too. He has officially started learning how to tap dance.
Finding meaning and happiness in human bonds
Finding a new friend, a companion, introducing a pet into your family for the sake of pure love and joy – it’s all just another way we’re doing our best to infuse our time with purpose and meaning. Friendships, romantic bonds, family ties, they are all our way to seek substance beyond ourselves, to give love as well as to bask in it. Without it, no material wealth in this world makes any sense.
So, naturally, when you have someone in your life who gives your existence a new, meaning-driven dimension, you feel like you matter. It reminds you that you have yet some good things to do. The ability to make someone’s day, to embrace them and make them feel accepted and loved, to share a joke, a piece of cake, or a secret – it all reminds us that we belong.
Loving makes us vulnerable, but it also makes us appreciative of the people who forge that powerful bond together with us. It comes to life only when shared. It doesn’t bow before any conventions and convictions. As such, love is nature’s most profound potion of youth, health, and vitality, and in order to reap its rewards and receive love, we need to give it in return.
Now that I can see my dad jump with joy every time his phone lights up with a new message from his new sweetheart, I’ve found a way to fall in love with love again. Do you, too, believe that love is the main ingredient needed for a healthy, happy life? Share your love and self-love stories in the comments below. The world needs that right now.
Sophia Smith is beauty and lifestyle blogger, graphic designer and a food enthusiast. She is very passionate about eco-friendly and green topics, sustainable fashion, and conscious business. Sophia’s other hobbies centre around her love for yoga, wellness rituals and living in balance with nature. She loves sharing meaningful content that inspires people and has covered topics ranging from organic beauty products and sustainability to self-care and mental health. Sophia has contributed to a number of publications including Eco Warrior Princess, Naughty Nutrition, Herbs Mother Earth Living, Sivana Spirit, Urban Naturale, Carousel, and Cause Artist. You can find out more about her writing by following her on Twitter @sophia_bri.
Image courtesy of Jakob Owens.