What is love?

Love, relationships and love, valentines day 2023, processing pain, nurturing self, holistic counseling, self care, self love

The flowers, the stuffed animals, the chocolates…western culture’s way of expressing love one day a year.

But is that really what love is all about?

According to Dr. Graves, not so much.

“Giving or getting love are both external actions when, I believe, love is what we are.”

Dr. Graves believes that philosophies are what dictate one’s actions in which a concept such as this can change how one lives.

How?

If love is the essence, or energy, of who we are as humans, how we view ourselves, our relationship to others, and our place within the world as well as the choices we make and the behaviors we exhibit, then it may positively influence our lives as a whole.

For Dr. Graves, this is an intuitive philosophy that feels right to him.

“Who I am is love.”

This belief directs his energy into such things as:

  • recognizing and developing the internal nature of love in, and of, the self
  • doing things for the self and letting go of the external expectation to “constantly produce”
  • cultivating relationships that foster love and compassion rather than drain them
  • redirecting a cultural falsehood of needing to do, give, or be something other than what the self really is in order to deserve and feel love

But what does this look like on a daily basis?

It can vary from person to person, but some options that Dr. Graves opts for and/or suggests are:

1. Processing pain.

Pain is part of the human experience.  Acknowledging this and bringing awareness to one’s own suffering because of such pain can encourage the processing of it…and allow love to blossom.

Tools such as counseling, talking to a close friend or family member, acupuncture, EMDR, psilocybin, plant medicine, journaling, spending time in nature, reading, hiking, yoga, swimming, and meditating can all work to bring attention to stuck emotion as well as provide an outlet to release it.

Lean into feelings that come up and sit with them.  It can be healthy to acknowledge such emotion and let them be without the need to ignore or change them.

2. Nurturing the Self.

Rooted in western culture is a need to constantly be producing and for many, that develops into the thought that love is based on production.  If one is not doing and contributing to cultural standards, one may not be deserving of love.

But if love is who we are, then the need for producing to achieve that is null and void.

However, we can nurture the love within us by being kind to ourselves, making our needs a priority, managing stress, and allowing ourselves to experience joy.

3. Living authentically.

None of us is perfect – we just can’t be all things to all people.  But, we can be many things to one person – ourselves.

As we age, our experiences shape us, our perspectives change, and our priorities shift.  It’s important to appreciate and listen to these evolutions and implement them into the continuous growth of life.

Forgiving oneself, setting boundaries, communicating needs, finding gratitude, and living in accordance with one’s inner belief system can help create harmony for an authentic life.

Although love may be a constant of our lives, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t nurture it.  And a change in perspective can make all the difference in how we choose to do that.

Is it just with chocolate and flowers?  While those are nice gestures (and certainly appreciated for many!) real love is within.  Is it time to nourish it this Valentine’s Day?

For naturopathic healthcare, acupuncture, plant medicine, holistic counseling, and massage, please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.

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