Culture · Love · Valentine's Day

My new approach to love

You know that song “God only knows” by The Beach Boys? Of course you do, it’s one of the most popular love songs in the world. It’s a song which gives us the fuzzy feels and makes us think of the airport scene in Love Actually. A song which, no doubt, will have been played about 50 times this Valentine’s day. And yet it opens with this line: “I may not always love you.”

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Well thanks for this blunt disclaimer. What kind of love song opens with a line that that?

The best kind of love song. Actually.

In my opinion, romantic films, books and love songs set us these unrealistic expectations of finding certain, everlasting love (I’m looking at you Sheeran).

The Beach Boys, on the other hand, are just managing our expectations.

Now I know what some of you might be thinking: “This love scrooge has just been burned badly. I’m definitely not inviting her to my wedding.”

Well, yes I have been burned, like everyone, and I’ve healed, like everyone. And I have come to appreciate the fact that with relationships, nobody can ever offer up their love with absolute certainty. We can do our best. We can stay faithful, respectful, and go in with the intention of loving that person forever. And that’s all we can promise.

Making peace with uncertainty

I love having someone to love. I love having that person who can set my soul on fire, make me laugh til I cry and keep me warm at night. But no relationship I ever have with a man will ever be certain because nothing is.

A relationship I can control, however, is the one I have with myself. That’s why more recently, I have devoted a lot of time to improving my self love. I am taking better care of myself both physically and mentally-from going to the gym and eating properly, to doing what makes me happy and improving my own internal monologue so that I’m not talking myself down so much. Don’t get me wrong-I’m still learning and I’m still flawed. I’m still known to indulge in copious amounts of wine and Maccy D’s on a Friday night, then wallow in self pity and most likely, more Maccy D’s the next day. But then I’ll eat some kale, go to the gym, look in the mirror and say “you’re a bad bitch” until I believe it, and boom, balance is restored. In short, I’m most definitely kinder to myself than I was a few years ago.

The Beach Boys go on to say in their song: “If you should ever leave me. Life will still go on believe me.” Well that’s far healthier than the more commonly wailed sentiments about not being able to live without the other person, or life ending when that relationship does.

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If you leave, yes, it will be rubbish and it will hurt a lot. But if I have enough self love, I will get through it and I will bounce back quicker than ever before.

For me, accepting the uncertainty of external love but maintaining a consistent level of self love, is incredibly liberating. I can actually enjoy the moment in a relationship without the fear of getting hurt, safe in the knowledge that I will always have myself.

The lyric “I may not always love you” is beautiful in its brazen honesty. To me, it says, yes, I love you and you love me. Let’s hope it lasts forever, but we cannot guarantee that, and if it ends, guess what? Life will still go on. Believe me…

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