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The love we can’t do without!

– How do you write love? – Asked Piglet.
– Love is not written, it is felt. – replied Winnie the Pooh.”

As we approach February 14, a day reminding us of love from every window and every channel, I will share some of my feelings related to one of the greatest resources in our lives – love. Some of the most beautiful words are dedicated to love, it is wrapped in touching melodies and lyrics, it has been performed in dozens of shows.

Love can be found in everything that surrounds us and for this reason its manifestations and forms are infinite. Love can be romantic, selfish, demanding, obsessive, shared, unshared, maternal, inspirational, scorching, mature, platonic, paternal, brotherly, sisterly, and I could go on forever. The main thing is the feeling we recognize when she is around. Love passes through me as an endless warming, a feeling of warmth and security. A sense of deep meaning without the need for explanation. The feeling of love gives me the gratitude and trust that everything will be okay.

Often in psychotherapy, we talk about love and the ways we access it, recognize it and connect with it. Love is such a significant resource that it is present as a major theme in various religions, psychological theories and concepts, therapeutic schools, behavioral models.

What is behind this feeling of love? Love is at the heart of connecting us to the world, but also to ourselves. Can I love others if I don’t love myself? How do I take care of others when I don’t take care of myself? How do I connect with the world when I don’t love myself? Often the concept of love from and for self is overexposed into selfishness and guilt. I put my needs before those of the other people around me. Often this is present in psychotherapeutic work – to be able to reconnect with the love and responsibility we have for ourselves without guilt and shame, to normalize contact with our inner aspects.

Do we need a day to celebrate love? A matter of inner need and understanding. There are also stages of life where we are connected to other feelings, feel lonely, unhappy, unloved, don’t have a partner or are not in the relationship we want. Then this day filled with balloons, roses and hearts seems absurd and unbearable. But it’s not because we don’t deserve love or it doesn’t exist for us, it’s just that our focus is different right now.

And what happens when everyone is celebrating love and I’m alone in the corner? Then the focus shifts to the lack of love in my life. And everything becomes even more unbearable. Then I find it hard to see the love in my beloved dog’s eyes, I can’t enjoy the elderly couple holding hands, I can’t see the beauty of the first bud on the tree in front of the block, nor the new blossom that the orchid thanks me for caring for.

In Erich Fromm’s book, The Art of Loving, there was an interesting concept of love as a skill that can be “trained,” directed and supported, or “Love is an activity” (Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving). Love has to do with the act of giving and receiving. When we love, we not only give and receive from and to others, but we also give to and receive from ourselves. Love is not an object or a subject, but rather an action that transforms, re-creates, heals, creates, brings hope, and supports us to be as we are, to receive and give thanks, even on days when it is hard to stay with ourselves. Psychotherapy is one of the forms of love I have chosen along my path!

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