Monday, 10 February 2014

Loving the healthy way.

This is February's column in the York Press, Healthy, Beauty and Wellbeing section, dated Monday February 10th, 2014.

Next Friday is St Valentine's Day. A day that can bring each of us a spectrum of emotions. Not only may we have expectations of the day, but we also hold memories of past Valentine Days. The more we have experienced the larger our memory store will hold. Good, bad and indifferent. Joyous and heart-breaking. The earliest memories I hold are, of schooldays and girls boasting about their Valentines, while I had received nothing. Eventually, one year I received my first one, silly that I can still remember it. A squirrel saying, 'I'm nuts about you'. It’s a shame really, because I certainly wasn't nuts about him.
Some people say that it’s just a modern invention or American and just for businesses to make money. The business angle is certainly true, but St Valentine and romantic love have been celebrated for centuries. My grandfather was born on February 14th 1885 and was given Valentine as his middle name.
Human beings have a basic need to love and be loved. If these needs are met healthily, then life can be good. But for all the smiles, hugs and good feelings, there is another, less attractive, ugly side. Where the need to give and receive love can cause problems. Tragic problems. I belong to an organisation called Soroptimist International, the York Ebor branch. The clubs in the York region support and promote an anti-grooming initiative. In a reflection below, is a list that was created with young girls in mind, but is suitable for all children and adults, all genders, in any relationship, in any situation.
I wish that on this forthcoming Valentine's day that you can recognise the signs of emotionally mature love in the Loves Me column.
Loves me                                                       Loves me not
Makes me feel safe                                        Is jealous
Makes me feel comfortable                           Is possessive
Listens to me                                                 Tries to control me
Values my opinions                                       Gets violent, loses  
                                                                       temper quickly.
Supports what I want to do in life                 Always blames me
Is truthful with me                                         Is sexually demanding
Admits to being wrong                                  Keeps me from seeing    
                                                                       friends & family
Respects me                                                   Makes all the decisions
Likes that I have other friends                       Embarrasses me in
                                                                       front of  others   
Makes me laugh                                             Hits me
Trusts me.                                                       Makes me cry
Treats me as an equal                                     Is always ‘checking
                                                                        up’ on me   
Respects my family                                        Takes my money and
                                                                        other things
 Accepts me as I am                                        Teases, bullies and
                                                                        puts me down.
 Understands my need for time alone             Threatens to leave me 
  or with family                                               if I don’t do what I’m

 In a perfect world, we would all have relationships in the left Loves Me, column, but this is an imperfect world. At home, the workplace, school, college, clubs, in fact anywhere, if there is a relationship in your life that ticks some lines in the right hand, Loves Me Not, column, please ask someone for advice and support. 

NB: I would add to the newspaper column here and write that the person displaying behaviours in the Loves Me column is emotionally mature, while the person displaying behaviours in the Loves Me Not column is emotionally immature. Both the giver and receiver need help.  


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