Bits and Bites of Everyday Life


Have I told you lately that I love you?

(Have I told you lately that I care?)

True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more

Valentine’s Day, many people toast and celebrate love! Restaurants are busy, stores sell tons of chocolates and millions of love cards but… that is not the real stuff love is made of!!

It’s about feeling love, being in love and sharing love. Love is simple yet powerful but if it is to be durable, it needs to be nurtured on a daily basis. We often associate Valentine’s Day with lovers but it encompasses everyone, from your lover, your spouse to your children, parents, extended family, friends and professionals that provide quality care or services to people who have touched your life in a special way. Teachers, for example, are the ones who receive the most valentines!
I read a lovely passage from Petites douceurs pour le coeur. The quote seemed to be from Mother Teresa. It says that one must not imagine that in order to be real, love must be spectacular. What love needs is durability. In order to last, love must be true and true love needs to constantly reaffirm itself.
The lovely analogy of the oil lamp with its light shining bright because of the constant flow of tiny drops of oil that feed it really spoke of lasting love as I see it. When a lamp dries out, the flame sputters and the light dies. Similarly in a relationship, if love isn’t sustained, one partner will say: “You are not the one I once loved. I don’t know you anymore.”
And what are those daily drops of oil that sustain love? Communication is certainly an important one. “Expressing your feelings in an open and nonjudgmental environment leads to bonding and a heightened sense of intimacy, a connection with the other.” says Dr. Faizal H Sahukhan, a registered professional counselor, author and director of the Canadian Professional Counselors Association. “Effective communication solidifies a relationship. Holding emotions in requires an ongoing effort that drains us mentally and socially.”
I cannot agree more. I need to express my feelings and be understood; I need others to reciprocate and tell me their true feelings. In a love relationship, if the other cannot say “I love you!” and mean it, I clam up and end up saying, “Hell no! That’s not for me! What am I doing?”
If someone’s first love models were bad, there is no reason to repeat them. Dispose of pent-up, toxic feelings and steer clear of resentment. Open the door and trust that you can create a safe haven where there is joie de vivre, happiness, kind and encouraging words, caring gestures like smiling, holding hands, hugging and kissing, helping out. These things should be as much a part of your daily routine as washing, dressing and eating.
“To appreciate life, share it with others.” (Austri Basinillo)
And that doesn’t mean giving up who you are or giving up your space. A loving relationship thrives when there is enough space and generosity for each person (your partner or your children) to maneuver, thrive and grow. Just as an animal cannot survive for long in a trap, neither can a human being endure a suffocating relationship. We all need to breathe.
I will go with the song: “Bring me fun, bring me sunshine, bring me love!” In my quest for love, Don and I have reconnected after more than a year of being apart. We were amazed by the intensity of our feelings as if time had stood still and nothing had been lost. All things are possible and we’ll see where this takes us!
Wishing you love on a daily basis!
Happy Valentine’s Day to all!
P.S. Enjoy Ottawa’s Winterlude!