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Take a second to pause. Close your eyes, feel your breath rising and falling in your chest and listen to the many subsequent songs the world around you sings. Maybe the cars zip by to visit friends, family or lovers. Perhaps you hear the birds outside your window conversing in chirps, or maybe there is nothing at all except the soft kiss of the wind on your skin. There is love surrounding you in every place you venture. You are a part of that too.

The love present in our world is more abundant than society’s laser-eye focus on a softhearted romance or a cheesy kindergarten valentine. Love in a relationship is a beautiful thing, but it is not the be-all-end-all to the love you can have in your life! It’s simply one of the many kinds of love you can experience, and I think that a lot of times people forget that and allow a romantic absence in their life to translate into loneliness and longing for a love that already fills the air they breathe, the words they speak and the life they live. The following are some of, in my opinion, the most rewarding types of love!

1. Family

two girls holding hands
Photo by Julia Caesar from Unsplash

As terrible as it sounds to say, I don’t think I realized how much I truly love my family until I moved away from home. I attribute this to a mixture of distance making the heart grow fonder and the fading of my utterly dramatic teen angst. The love a family shares, no matter how big or small, is an incredibly forgiving and reliable love. I would compare it to a cup of tea. It is refreshing when trials and tribulations are nowhere to be found, and comforting when the tears come running. (For those of you who do not have great relationships with your blood relatives, family is not just defined by those in your gene pool!)

2. Friendship

cat asleep in bed
Photo by Iz & Phil from Unsplash

The love I associate with friendship is a kind, nurturing and encouraging love, much like a cheerleader offering words of encouragement with all their heart, regardless of the current score. Sometimes you are the cheerleader, and sometimes you are being cheered on. Regardless, good friends will always offer their helping hands. A friendship built on the foundation of love and kindness is a blessing that will stay, as long as you nurture it!  

3. Self 

We talk about self-love all the time, but how do YOU act upon it? Do you meditate? Do yoga? Journal? Whatever it is that you do, I will forever advocate for taking time every day to not only take care of yourself but to also spend time with yourself as if you were spending time with a friend. Get to know yourself, be gentle and kind, and the love will come. It’s much easier to hate yourself if you don’t know yourself well. Any type of relationship requires nurturing, attention and effort. Why should your relationship with yourself be any different?

4. Obviously, last but not least, romantic relationships.

I put this type of love last for a reason to emphasize that outside of romantic relationships, there is so much love in the world. Despite that, this type of love is still wonderful! I deeply cherish my own relationship and am eternally grateful for it. I think my favorite thing about this type of love is how unique the feeling is. It gifts me a feeling like a pink peony in my heart and inspires me to be my best self. This love turns all my thoughts into poetry and my words into lovesongs, and it is a present. If you find this type of love, make sure you are ready for it.

Keep an eye out today for love in your life. Give yourself an act of kindness, call your family or give a friend a hug. It surrounds you, so dive in!

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Emma Cryer is a current Florida State University senior majoring in Communications/Media Studies and minors in English and film! In her free time, you can find her in the gym, reading, or laughing with friends.
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