What does it mean to love? First, there are so many different types of love -- love of self, love of other, platonic, romantic, familial. We exist on so many levels in this complex emotion. There are an endless number of ways to address the topic, and this certainly won't be the last time I tackle it here in the newsletter.
The easy approach to this topic would be a few advice pieces about how to have the absolute best relationship ever in the history of all humankind. The Gottman Institute's Four Horsemen theory is a good place to start, but, ultimately, the best relationship looks different for each person. The stories this week explore love in more tangential ways, each of which I find relevant in our modern context.
There's the emergence and dissolution of love in the face of racial and religious tension. There are the challenges to women's ability to practice self-love by way of substance abuse -- an abuse normalized and encouraged by aggressive advertising.
Few things are more essential to love than generosity. Did you know you can burn out on that? Well, you can. Then there's an expression of self love I have been tossing around in my own heart and mind with growing interest and frequency: dropping everything to pursue the nomadic life.
Love, whether love of one's self or of others, is work. There's the work to help yourself or a partner through substance abuse, the work of seeing past difference, the work of saying "yes" to their dreams or your own and the work of taking a break from the artificial connections of the internet to acknowledge and be present for the real and unique connection to yourself, your world and, perhaps, the special person with whom you share love.
Happy loving and happy reading.