Love is an essential thing.
Like food, water, or shelter, it is something we cannot survive this human experience without. And yet, love shortages are just as common, if not more, in the world as shortages of any tangible necessity.
Love drought is a devastating thing.
However often misrepresented, it is without doubt or question that society has taught us the value of romantic love— taught us to struggle with ideas of incompleteness, to create conditional conceptions of wholeness determined by whether or not we are partnered romantically with another human being.
It is true that more and more, popular culture has begun to push back on this idea, offering us an alternative to those notions packaged with beautifully branded labels marked “self care,” but while both romantic and intra-personal love are of paramount importance, neither romance nor self-love in isolation provides the key to human happiness.
It is because of skewed perceptions, and mis-education regarding the subject of love that the true, interconnected nature of love is left almost entirely absent from conversation.
Humans are relational beings. Like every spirit living on the Earth, we are bonded to one another physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our very survival and blossoming are reliant upon the survival and blossoming of those who surround us. Because of this, we cannot truly achieve our happiest or fullest state alone, or even with a single partner.
We must have community.
African indigenous, contemporary, and Africana communities have held tight to this truth for millennia. The Zulu word “ubuntu,” which translates roughly to “humanity” or “I am because we are” teaches us the spirit of a collective existence. It reminds us that while we are whole as individuals, we step into true abundance when we begin to honor our interconnectedness, and shift our mindsets to uphold that reverence in every type of relationship.
Abundance is interconnected. Healing is interconnected. Love is interconnected.
This month, this Valentines Day, this existence, honor your connections.
Hold tight to yourself. Hold tight to your partner. Hold tight to your family and friends.
Hold tight to your community.
You will find this existence to be perhaps a little brighter, a little less daunting, a little more beautiful, when it is rich with community and love.