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February 15, 2013

Thoughts on love for all year long

While many think of Valentine’s Day as just another commercial holiday, requiring us to consume greeting cards and other goods, I think of it as a reminder to honor all year long, what, in my view, is the most powerful emotional element necessary in creating a meaningful life.

Freud said the most important things in life are love and work (I would add play). And it is the emotion of love that can make our work exciting, fun and fulfilling, and, for most of us, nothing gives our lives more meaning and value than giving and receiving love from family and friends. It is when we love what we are doing that we garner the most enjoyment and satisfaction: playing or watching sports, enjoying live theater performances, gardening, teaching, sculpting, designing, learning, writing, painting, carpentry, any activity. The richness of life’s experiences comes with the love of someone or something.

Here are some thoughts about romantic love from artists, writers, poets, philosophers, clergy and psychoanalysts:

“Love is a gracious and beautiful art.” Havelock Ellis

“Love is an energy which exists of itself. It is its own value.” Thornton Wilder

“Love is that splendid triggering of human vitality!” Jose Ortega Y Gasset

“Love is the outreach of self toward completion.” Ralph Sockman

“Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise.” Samuel Johnson

“Love is space and time measured by the heart.” Marcel Proust

“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” Erich Fromm

“Love makes everything lovely.” George MacDonald

“Love cures people, the ones who receive it and the ones who give it.” Karl Menninger

“Love is not only something you feel. It’s something you do.” David Wilkerson

“Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved.” Thomas Merton

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