Once again, it is that time of the year. Heart-shaped balloons surround the area as couples cling to each other’s arms in every corner. Love is put under a microscope every February when people give beautiful flowers and delicious pastries to their beloved. It is almost the same tradition every year, but what makes it exciting is how people become more creative just to express their love. Many buy gifts, some confess, and others utilize their talents to make something memorable. Nevertheless, all have the same goal—to remind their loved ones that someone out there cares for them.
I personally find it cute and sweet that many engage in the tradition of spreading love during Valentine’s Day, though some may find it ridiculous and childish. I believe it is because our perception of what love is that differs from one another. It is also difficult, for love does not have a specific definition. It is something that cannot be limited to only one meaning as each and every one of us has our own interpretations of love.
Some may think love brings them eternal joy and fulfillment, while others may perceive love the other way around—it being the prime cause of pain and danger. But there are multiple kinds of love that can come from different sources. I have heard and witnessed stories about the different types of love—and not all of them last. Your partner may leave you, your acquaintances may come and go, your guardians would not always be there for you, but I realized what will always stay is love for family.
In this day and age, family does not necessarily go by its traditional meaning of a group of people related by blood which consists of a father, mother, and child. “Family,” now, pertains to the people you hold closest to your heart. The Disney film Lilo and Stitch described it best: “ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” It may still refer to your parents, siblings, and cousins, but it may also include your closest friends who are there for every accomplishment in school, every relationship woes, every triumph, and every defeat.
In the end, it depends on you who your heart accepts as family. They are the ones who always got your back. They are the ones who sacrifice for you. They are the ones who grow with you. They are the ones who hold your hand through the night and see the light of day with you. They are the ones who witness all of your facets, even the not so nice ones, yet they still accept who you are—because they love you.
There may be times when you feel like you are not loved, but that only means that you fail to recognize the ones that truly care for you. We may be blinded by our own loneliness or the concept of romantic love, in which only one significant other would be able to fulfill your heart’s desire, that we tend to forget the love that is already around us. Don’t close yourself off from the love people want to give you. Love can be a simple text of “be safe” or it can be the daily “how are you” messages. Love can be having meals together, listening to each other’s stories, or by simply being there for you no matter what happens. Small things, but they are the ones that count. They are the little things that you will cherish in your heart as your family are the people that you can go back to at the end of a long day—that kind of love is the best love.