¿Is love an emotion?
By Jorge-Armando Diaz, MSW Clinical Social Worker
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day or is it a rough 24 hours? Why do so many struggle with the concept of love? Is it because we don’t understand the fundamental value of this complex state of mind or is it because our definition of love has changed from generation to generation? I treat men with relationship issues, on the surface; it appears to be typical relationship conflict: lack of trust, sex is boring and the many fights and arguments that arise due to the uncertainty of the relationship’s future. How is a beautiful feeling or experience so complex? The sad reality is to see men struggle with showing their love or embracing the love giving by another man. What happened in our lives that impacted the ability of expressing this beautiful emotion? Are we afraid of rejection or simply lack the tools to express it? Are we afraid of being vulnerable and expressing our feelings due to past experiences? Many carry a load of negative past experiences in the love department and view love based on past relationships. Nothing wrong with that-it’s called life lessons. However, is it healthy embarking on a new relationship based on the previous one?
I will be brave and say that many of us struggle with the concept of showing our love to another man because we didn’t receive love from our own father. If this is true, would this impact our leaning process? If we weren’t given love or shown how to express it-is it possible to learn this valuable life lesson? How can this be possible if one of the most important men in our lives couldn’t take on the task? Is this a safe argument? Don’t we have the responsibility of healing our relationships with our fathers and process our feelings and childhood traumas in order to be healthy Latino gay men? Unfortunately, our childhood is over-leaving some with beautiful memories and others with deep wounds that left deep scars. We shouldn’t dwell on what wasn’t taught. We should reflect on what we need to learn and what areas we need to continue to develop. Begin to define “love.” We all have different definitions-define it in order to recognize it. Begin the journey of loving yourself.
Many of us don’t know how to love ourselves yet we expect others to do so. Before we can embrace or give love to someone else, we must be able to love ourselves. If you’re in love this Valentine’s day, celebrate and enjoy! Recently single-this may be a tough time, but remember, relationships are life experiences. Think about what you learned rather than what you lost. If you’re fabulously happy and single-go out for a drink-you might get a dose of cupid! For the rest of us searching for love, there’s always E-harmony waiting for our new profile.