Love is…

By: Crystal Alba

A lot has happened in the month of February. From Black History month, Presidents’ Day, Valentine’s Day, even snow days.  

I’ve reflected a lot on Valentine’s Day this time around, however. What the day celebrates or what it should celebrate- love!

I told myself that I wanted to talk about this topic in a deeper sense as a mother but the truth is that “love” is so broad. There is love for everyone around me. That’s what I want my daughters to know, that love isn’t just for a selective person. 

My daughter made the comment on valentines day as she said, “Mommy, I don’t have a valentine.”

“But you are my valentine!” I said.

“No, Daddy is your valentine!” She argued.

“I can have more than one valentine. Valentine’s day is about celebrating love for everyone in your life. Not just about one person.” I explained. 

“What is love?” She asked.

So I decided to bring this as a valuable lesson as I replied “Love is everywhere around you!”

Showing your true colors

I used to think that love was all about a relationship but just as we live life, 

love is….about everything. The comforting moments when all you need is a hug and a bowl of soup,  blissful moments where you feel comforted just with listening to the birds chirp outside, the glamorous moments where you feel like you’re on top of the world when you get a bouquet of roses, the heart breaking points. Ya know- moments that made you cry your eyes out and listen to old R&B songs to get you through the day. 

The point is, love isn’t just about having someone to come home to. 

Love is within you. And it’s up to you on how you show it and how you receive it. 

What you compose will be seen and heard by everyone that is in your life.

I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true! How can we love someone else if we don’t have love for ourselves first? Getting into a relationship should make you feel happy and allow you to show our true colors to someone. Loving yourself makes you feel confident knowing that the person you are with has accepted you inside and out. 

And if they don’t, who cares! As long as you love yourself, that is the greatest love out there- you’re letting your colors shine!

How do we let our true colors shine though? Practice self-love. 

Yeah, in many ways that could mean to go get a pedicure (or soaking yourself in a bathtub while you binge watch Euphoria), but I’m talking about knowing when to show up for yourself, knowing when to step out of a lifestyle or relationship that is no longer serving you!

Showing my daughter the concept of having love and respect for yourself is important to me because when you put yourself first,  there is a  high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Of course I will always be her number one fan and her forever valentine. But I don’t want her to depend on someone for love. I want her to be confident that she already has it within her!

Putting Yourself First

I am a strong advocate for women empowerment and self-love ( if you haven’t noticed on our instagram.) but what does it mean exactly to have self-care/ self-love? 

Well, in hindsight, it means to put yourself first and not worry about pleasing others. So if you’re in a relationship and you’re constantly feeling like you’re under their control- it’s time to ask yourself what do you want! 

That moment where I had to show up for myself wasn’t in a relationship, it was my job! When I realized that I was constantly feeling depleted, starting to get depressed, anxious about meeting my supervisors needs, my clients needs, guilty for missing out on family events- I took a pause and asked myself “What do I really want?”. I was always seeking validation, but for what? I didn’t get that feeling of fulfillment in return. So, I took action and filled my own cup! I decided to cut down my hours and just live in the present moment with my daughters. It took time to get used to, of course. But like any relationship, you have to get to know each other to start accepting what their true colors are. 

Love is unconditional! 

Hear me out. 

You’ll find that there are moments where you just want to run away from the hard times that a relationship will throw at you. You will want to call it quits after an argument that just rips you at the core. However, when we claim love we are accepting that flaw or mistake. We confront it. No matter how bad it may be. 

When you say you “love” something or someone, there is no second thought on caring for the person/ thing. That person/ thing becomes part of your priority.

So what I’m saying is- no matter how shitty your day can get, show up for yourself! Loving yourself should have no second thoughts. You should become part of your priorities!

Cheers to that!

So this life lesson for my five year old may have gotten a little deep but she understood that love starts with her. After explaining what love may look like to me, she took out her paint brushes and paints. She said, “I like to paint. So I’m going to paint myself a valentine.”

*spoiler alert*- I got one too!

I made this post a little shorter than others because it was intended to be  reflection for myself. 

I want to hear from you! Were there times where you had to show up for yourself? 

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