Love and heartbreak
Pinterest, @illustrailyy

Love and Heartbreak Aren’t Limited To Romantic Relationships

February 2022 has arrived with its obnoxious displays of flowers, chocolates, and gifts, painting every store some odd shades of red, pink, and white. Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and we are reminded, yet again, of love and heartbreak.

This is also the time for women to reminisce (or get over) their ex, celebrate Galentine’s Day, and hang out with their friends. It’s this time of the year when we create a metaphorical, or even literal, “screw you” to anyone who has hurt us.  

Romantic relationships have been put on a unique pedestal within our society. We idolize “finding the one” and spending the rest of our lives with them. We elevate this above all other achievements in our life, the one defining factor for every man and woman’s life.

This is a token that we are not only expected to fulfill, but also pushed toward achieving. As a result, any pushback to the idea of relationships does not bode well.

People are often shocked, or even offended, at the thought that we would not want to have any part in a romantic relationship. Because we have fixated on this idea that the concepts of love and heartbreak are only present in romantic relationships.  

People are often shocked, or even offended, at the thought that we would not want to have any part in a romantic relationship. Because we have fixated on this idea that the concepts of love and heartbreak are only present in romantic relationships.

With movies, TV shows, and social media constantly bombarding us with the same images of happy couples everywhere, our subconscious gets stuck in this idea that love is exclusively found in romantic relationships.

In the same token, the worst thing that could possibly happen to anyone is getting heartbroken by their significant over because wherever love is, tragedy follows.  

But these concepts transcend over our lifetime and over several types of relationships.

These relationships play significant roles in shaping our lives, and I think it can be argued that these relationships are more important and more impactful than romantic relationships.  

Familial Relationships

Love & heartbreak
Pinterest, @illustrailyy

This can include your nuclear family or your extended family. Who you are, what you believe in, and the person you become is directly influenced by the environment that you grow up in.

You experience love, the love from your parents and siblings. They are there at your school plays. They are there at your first soccer game. And they are there during finals week when you are holed up in your room studying. But you also experience heartbreak. You argue with them. You want to pursue a major they don’t approve of. You want to be independent, but they don’t want to let you go. 

Platonic Relationships

Love & heartbreak
Pinterest, @carolinadecamargotiagosantana

These are your friends and your colleagues. Maybe you see each other in class every day. Maybe you are involved in the same clubs. Sometimes you light the group on fire, and other times you go months without talking. You come back to each other and reminisce about when you actually had free time. You experience love through their company; the fact that they lend an ear and listen when you need it most.

They understand you in ways other people don’t. You also experience heartbreak. Maybe you grow distant and lose connection. Maybe it’s beliefs or politics that drive you away from each other. Or they just leave one day and don’t come back.  

Professional Relationships

Love and heartbreak
Pinterest, @Beeguffco

This can be with your co-workers, colleagues, and network. You grow and learn with this group. You make an impact on an entire community. Or you help a company get on its feet. You grow through experience; the mistakes you have made.

You probably look back to see just how far you have come. You experience love through the work that you do and the people you work with. Each day you put in your work furnishes itself into a result. But you also experience heartbreak. Maybe you can’t stand anyone you work with. Worse, they begin to harass or hurt you. It might be as simple as losing your motivation to show up in the first place.  

Relationship with Oneself

Pinterest, @shkumaaa

It’s easy for us to give everything we have to someone else without expecting anything in return. The problem with this is we forget to save room for ourselves. The greatest love and heartbreak we experience is within ourselves.

The greatest love and heartbreak we experience is within ourselves.

We might love a hobby or a talent that we have, and we pursue it. We might love what we are studying. We might love the community or team we are part of. But we also experience doubt. We talk ourselves out of more opportunities that come our way, convinced we just can’t do it. Somewhere in the quietest part of ourselves, we might think we just don’t want to be here anymore; that we just can’t do this any longer.

Love & Heartbreak, Redefined

Pinterest, @sunshinestudioss_

Love and heartbreak manifest themselves in countless ways. It would hurt us to pigeonhole a concept into just one form. It’s too vast for us to ever know, or even experience, all the ways love and heartbreak come into fruition.

It would be wrong to define a person’s entire life with one single defining moment. It is also wrong to reduce two of the most important human emotions into one type of relationship.   

While we will probably continue to over glorify the romantic relationships in our lives, I urge you to take the initiative to sit down and appreciate all the people that have impacted your life; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Think about how each person made you feel. What are the thoughts that come to your mind at that moment? Express gratitude for what happened and allow yourself to either move on or reconnect.

Know that if you don’t have a significant other, that is okay. You are okay. You don’t need to throw away your energy trying to find someone just because that is “what is expected of you.”  

Instead, take time for yourself. Sit with yourself. Don’t do anything or do everything. It’s your choice. You are the most important source of love and heartbreak you will ever have.

If you don’t love yourself first, you won’t ever be able to love someone else, no matter how true their love may be.

Self-love is not easy, I know. It takes immense courage to take the first step and go on this journey. But choosing to love yourself, despite all the messiness, mistakes, and imperfections you think you have, is the best decision you can make.

You are your greatest investment. So don’t underestimate the importance of meeting your needs and your goals. And while you are at it, buy yourself that box of chocolates and flowers. That’s part of loving yourself, after all.