We tend to think of true love as romantic—a soulmate, perfectly compatible sexually and in day-to-day life, perhaps even having met as in the movies: swoon at first sight.
May everyone find such love but, fortunately, if we allow ourselves to expand from that definition, true love can manifest in a number of ways. We may be more pleased with our life if we search out or stop to appreciate other forms of true love:
A child. Whether your own or not, connecting deeply with a child can be a form of true love.
A parent. Many people complain about their parents, perhaps because it’s comforting to shift blame from self to them. Ironically, that’s encouraged by some traditional psychotherapists. But your parents probably sacrificed much for you, know you well, and probably love you, if not unconditionally, with few conditions. In your life, might that be a form of true love?
A pet. Perhaps this admits of my shallowness, but I feel true love for my previous dog Einstein who died last year and, already, for my new doggie Hachi. Having saved both from possible extermination in the pound and having selected them for sweetness above all, we do have a loving, long-term, and of course, non-judgmental relationship—at least he never judges me. Hachi chooses to be by my side most of the time, napping under my desk, in pre-COVID days being my co-counselor on the sofa nuzzling against my clients, is ever eager to be my partner in walking, hiking, and driving, and is always happy to see me and to roll over for a belly rub. I can’t help but call that a form of true love.
One’s work. If you have meaningful work that you do well, that can be true love. Such people typically spend more hours at work than is required, because they love it or at least feel it’s important. They may not love parts of their work. Not even "cool" careers, such as artist or athlete, are always lovable. There’s crap in the best of careers, but in toto, such people might well consider their work to be true love.
One’s avocation. The word “amateur” derives from the Latin for “love.” Indeed, many people feel deep love for their avocation. The amateur athlete eagerly looks forward to being a weekend warrior or fan of their game of choice. The accountant may long to get home so s/he can work on his or her novel, Great American or otherwise. Cannot those fit under the umbrella of true love?
The takeaway: Especially amid COVID and the racial roiling’s emotional tolls, we might gain comfort from searching out. being aware of, and feeling gratitude for our life's true love(s.)
I read this aloud on YouTube.