Relationships are complicated and beautiful. Whether it's a buddy, a bestie, a boo, or a bride, relationships are like two magnets--there's a mutual interest that's pulling you together and an eagerness to find out just how close you'll end up. If you're lucky, the act of coming together will lead to love... you know, the strongest binding force we've developed as a species.
Relationships are also a work in progress. They're constantly developing, shifting, evolving. There's no sense in worrying about that unknown future, but it's noble to put in an extra effort to foster those relationships so they have their best chance. It's always ok to strive for love.
I do a lot of reading about mindfulness (I know, I'm obsessed) and it's pretty common for the things I read to cross over into Buddhist philosophy. Now, I'm no Buddhist, I'm not a lot of things, but I'm of the mindset that no matter what you believe there's a lot of wisdom to be gained from all faiths, all philosophies, all people.
Here's a Buddhist philosophy that's particularly on point about relationships: to give is to gain.
I think a lot of us go out there looking for a connection, searching for a friendship, waiting for that perfect man to come along. We want people to love us, and of course we do, it feels all warm and fuzzy.
But there's a big difference between wanting love and actually being loved. Buddhists believe that in order to truly be loved, you shouldn't waste all your energy looking for it, asking for it, demanding it--you should just show it.
It's kind of like karma. It's kind of like that Beatles lyric, "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." It's kind of like being a good person, a loving person, a thoughtful and giving person, and then watching as those same qualities find their way back to you in unexpected ways.
The more you demand love from those around you the more you look like an asshole, and assholes don't get a whole lot of love (unless you're Kanye West I guess).
So this is my advice to all of you this Valentine's... show your love.
*Freely give out your compassion, your appreciation, your smile.
*Connect with with the people you want to get to know better.
*Be honest and open with those you care about.
*Help a friend when they need it.
*Laugh with a friend when they need that too.
*Tell your significant other that you love them, as often as you possibly can.
*Hug, long and hard, like you mean it.
Basically, spread love without any expectations of receiving it back.
It's then, and only then, that you'll feel real love from those around you. Because real love is infectious and it'll come back to you in spades.