Monthly Relish

February Relish

Much Adu about LOVE

Valentine’s Day is one of many commodified holidays grossly advertised for the sole intent of making money…in this case, construct LOVE is the commodity. Clearly, people have no problem financially expressing their “LOVE,” as Valentine’s Day is an 18 billion dollar business. The flowers die, the candy gets eaten up, and the lingerie gets destroyed in a couple minutes, but what happens to the LOVE? Is it sustained? Was it ever there? Like many constructs: an idea or theory containing various conceptual elements, typically considered to be subjective and not based on empirical evidence, love can be difficult to define.

Quest for Love

A few years ago, I went on a quest for the ultimate definition of love, I turned to my homegirl, Bell Hooks, (in my mind, Bell and I are homies). In her national best seller All about Love: New Visions, Bell breaks down love in a way that absolves the perplexity and ambiguity of this construct. Bell says that love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth, which includes the following dimensions: trust, commitment, care, respect, knowledge, and responsibility.

When you know better you do better. Or at least you should.

With a new working definition of love, it changed how I interacted with myself. Was I nurturing my own spiritual growth? No. Was I committed to giving care, being responsible, showing respect, and being willing to learn? No. After reading this book I knew I had some work to do. Growing up surrounded by dysfunction, I learned to trust no one, showed respect if I felt like they deserved it, learned only what I felt I needed to or what was mandated. I wanted to experience love per Bell’s definition and did lots of internal work to accomplish this goal and live by a “love ethic”.  People who’ve known me a long time can certainly attest to “the change.” GOD IS GOOD!

Are you in LOVE or nah?

Before you add to the 18 billion dollar event known as Valentine’s Day, use this new definition of love. Ask yourself, Am I in LOVE with this person? Hell, am I in LOVE with ME? Although I don’t have a traditional “Valentine” I’m beyond happy because I can say that I’m in LOVE with me and that puts me in the space to LOVE you!

~Michaela Jenean


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