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I was recently in a Facebook forum for mental health clinicians, such as myself, who are single, and a question was raised, "What is Love?" Usually, I would make a snide comment or even put up a GIF of something relatively funny, but this time, I chose to play fair. The impact of COVID-19 hardened some areas in me that needed softening. Today, we'll call it compassion fatigue; but honestly, the pandemic has shocked me and, like many of you, uprooted my plans. I had to trade in my plans for a deeper purpose which is still being revealed to me over these days and weeks. Therefore, in the midst of the question asked, I decided to write a real answer. Imagine that. I recognize that some people don't know Love, but they claim movie love as a model love to strive for. They recognize manufactured TV love. They remember high school love, new and fresh and young. But what they do not understand (and this is not fault-finding) is that love is not a specific type or hormonal connection. Love is the nourishing truth which sustains. And, it is unfailing proof that God exists. Below is the answer I gave the single therapists group. No I didn't get a standing social media sized ovation, nor did I want one. I hold this truth to be self-evident that all answers to the question "What is love?" are NOT created equal. May this bring you comfort and clarity today.
Q: What is Love?
A: I can tell you what love is not. Love is NOT a subscription plan. It’s not "in" one day and "out" the next. It’s a slow burn. It’s a flow. Love attempts to understand, and it is constantly learning and growing. It does not manipulate for its own gain. It includes forgiveness and authenticity. Love says “Come in. You can be completely you. So leave the BS at the door”. Love doesn’t have membership tiers. Either it is or it ain’t. It doesn’t host a basic, deluxe or premium package. It demolishes ranking systems, because it can. Love conquers fear. In love we can dare to be ourselves, and it gives us permission to be greater, rise higher, and to treat others and ourselves even better, day by day. It doesn’t fall into place. Love builds like a song with resolute harmony. And even in the questioning, the confusion, the insecurity, the wondering and the waiting... love is still there. It’s in you. It’s in us. But, only if we dare to delight in it. That’s my definition... stream of consciousness-like.
May this love note comfort and encourage you this #dearwednesday.
This Dear Wednesday Letter was hand-crafted by Dr. Joy. Dr. Joy Well, mental health clinician, confidence catalyst, professor, self-sabotage solutionist and avid researcher is one of the quintessential experts on the connection between the mind, body, and immune system. Her doctoral work explored the experiences of women of color living with autoimmune diseases and how they function and experience the medical community and beyond. Once a shy, small-town girl with big dreams, Joy has found peace and purpose working with women of all ages to develop a fierce, faith-filled identity, personally and professionally. She is a clinician and entrepreneur in mental health private practice, seeing all ages, backgrounds, and genders. In her spare time, she enjoys music, movies, writing, and getting into mischief with friends. You can find Dr. Joy on social media @captivatingjoy.