A look at the misconceptions and misunderstandings of what love really is.
With tomorrow being Valentine’s Day, I cannot help but have love on my mind. This is a difficult topic for many including myself. Having two marriages and two divorces as well, under my belt, I cannot say that love has necessarily something I have excelled at in this life, and given the society that we live in, who could? We are constantly inundated by media images that make love an impossible task to accomplish for so many reasons.
Let’s start with body image. To be more particular, let’s take a look at the Victoria’s Secret “Angels.” With a distorted point of view such as that, because let’s be honest, with the average woman being 5’4” and 155 pounds, very few of us are going to be a size 2 with a 34” bust and 5’ 8” tall, the size of most Victoria Secret’s models. And if women are suffering from body image issues because of the way the clothing companies and the media are exhibiting what they consider to be “sexy” how the hell can any of us ever feel that way?! And let’s not forget those of us who are not even average, I myself being a full-figured albeit buxom lady. If we, as women are constantly worried that we aren’t beautiful because the media doesn’t display average girls in a positive light, and heaven forbid that a modeling agency hires a girl with hips, how on earth can we expect men to view us any differently than we view ourselves? And just for comparison, a Victoria’s Secret size extra small panty is the same size as a JC Penny size 6/6x girl’s panty that is meant to fit a 7 or 8 year old girl. The proof is in the pudding honey!
Ok, so let’s put body image aside and discuss the media’s portrayal of the modern woman. Every day on TV, in movies, ads, and the like, women are being displayed more and more in increasingly provocative clothing, musicians, especially rappers, often refer to women as bitches and hoes, and Girls Gone Wild has made a celebration of loose morals and bad judgment, and these are the things that are expected of women these days! The liberal left has turned what used to be expected morals into a mockery. Heaven forbid a person should want to wait until marriage to have sex, stand up against abortion, and not be in support of gay marriage because they are worried about how it will affect the institution of the family! Now those of us who have any moral scruples left are looked upon as prude, primitive, and prejudicial. We have now become the enemy of the state for trying to keep the world from going to hell even more quickly than many are intent upon it doing so.
However, body image and the degeneration of America’s portrayal and expectations of women are not the only issues facing the concept of a realistic idea of what love is today; love itself has been turned on its head. Today, children in elementary school are losing their virginity. I for one don’t even know how that is even physically possible, but according to statistics it is and the occurrence is more and more frequent. So the concept of “put out or get out” is being blasted at children at even younger and younger ages, once again we can thank the media for that, our schools very rarely teach abstinence anymore, now it is safe sex. Well yes, that is a fantastic idea. Let’s teach children between the ages of let’s say 10 and 13 the concept of safe sex because this is really something that at their ages they should be worrying about! I don’t know about any of you, but when I was a kid of those ages, sex wasn’t even on my radar. No wonder that so many people have a distorted view of love. With songs like “The Lips of an Angel,” by Hinder, “Love in This Club,” by Usher, “Tattoo,” by Maroon 5 and “Get Lucky,” by Daft Punk, how can we expect our children to have a realistic view of what love consists of?
We are constantly told we need to be more tolerant, but I for one am sick and tired of tolerance. I am not condoning the behavior that we sometimes see when people are down-right nasty and mean to others because their views differ on one of these subjects. I say we need to take the word tolerance out of the mental lexicon of America and start teaching love, and I mean REAL love, because love isn’t about sex, as so many now often believe. Love is about treating others with respect and kindness. Love is about celebrating our diversity and accepting those things that others choose to practice in their lives that we may not necessarily condone and not treating them any more ill because of it. I mean the kind of love that my parents had for one another, and their 40th wedding anniversary was yesterday. Now that, that right there is real love. Even if my mom has already passed on, I know that there isn’t a day that goes by that my dad doesn’t think of her with the kindest of thoughts and the greatest of admiration and affection.
Love is not putting up with others shortcomings, as many today would like to phrase it. Love is accepting others shortcomings and caring for them regardless, lifting them up in times of need, supporting them in times of joy and sorrow, and allowing them the opportunity to grow by being a good example unto them ourselves. The world would have us believe, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die,” like is stated in the Bible, but this is a faulty view. The world would have us think that this life is all about us, that we are meant to put our own desires ahead of others, but the reality is that this will not make us happy, and it certainly won’t find us love. It isn’t until we stop thinking of ourselves all the time, quit being selfish, and start being selfless that we allow love to come into our lives. It isn’t until we begin to treat others with love that we will allow ourselves an opportunity to be treated likewise. Love is one of those things, to borrow the colloquialism, that the more of it you give away, the more you will find you get in return.
I believe that the only way to solve many of the ills of today’s world is by teaching more love, and condoning less violence. Celebrating more giving and deterring more taking. Practicing more kindness, and refraining from nastiness. Until we as individuals learn to love others first, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we would like to be treated with, the path to complete anarchy will not be deterred. So whether you are in a relationship or not, tomorrow as you think about the purpose behind Valentine’s Day, reach out and find someone to love. Whether it be a random act of kindness for a stranger, a hug for a friend, or a gift to someone whom you hold dear, this year on Valentine’s day, show a little love.