“Love in September” may be a strange topic of discussion. While most people identify February as the month of love because of Valentine’s Day, the difficulties of these past months remind us how healing and helpful love can be in any season — and the many ways we can give and receive love.
Love may show up as eros, which is a deep feeling of attraction. Love may show up as philia, which is a brotherly or sisterly type love displayed among friends, neighbors and those considered to be family. Children can appreciate the storge expression of love, which is expressed innately from parent to child.
Love would not be complete without agape. Agape the unconditional, God kind of love that is expressed without merit on behalf of the recipient. This type of love simply says, “I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it.” It also says, “I love you in spite of.” Love is more than a good feeling. It is life giving and brings healing to all who receive it.
Read more about the seven types of love.
First Corinthians 13:4- 8 defines love in this way:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
It has been said “love is not love until you give it away.” Giving and receiving love can be vital to maintaining mental and emotional health. The absence of love can produce despair, sadness and other conditions that contribute to mental and emotional instability. Love can be depicted as the house guest that is always welcomed to return.
You might ask, how does love impact mental and emotional health? The answer could vary depending on who is being asked. Sigmund Freud eluded to the importance of a higher power when he named the superego as a relevant means to shape ethics and morality. For some, the higher power can serve as a source of unconditional love that helps them to love others in the same way. Showing love toward others minimizes actions that can be perceived as hurtful or offensive.
Love expressed toward others can be gratifying for both the giver and receiver. Treating others with kindness, being thoughtful, showing compassion and respect are all welcomed components of love. When someone is not feeling well or in need of support, a kind word or a card expressing empathy can go a long way. As we all deal with societal ills and various stressors that complicate life, love can be the much-needed antidote to turn things around.
Here are a few more examples of loving expressions:
- The gift of flowers: Flowers tend to represent life. Colorful flowers also help to brighten mood and can serve as a positive anchor.
- A good meal: People often appreciate a good meal during celebrations and in times of despair. Sharing a meal can create space to talk about thoughts and feelings.
- A phone call: A phone call lets the individual know that you are thinking about him/her and that you took the time out to include them in your schedule.
- A timely visit: Take time out to visit the person if possible. Due to the current climate a personal visit may not always be feasible, however, utilize appropriate means for the person to see you if possible, i.e. Facetime, Zoom, drive by visit, etc.
- Show gratitude: A little gratitude goes a long way. Be sure to say thank you and let the people in your circle know how much you appreciate them. Don’t take for granted that they already know your thoughts and feelings.
- I love you: Saying I love you to the person you love takes out the guess work. Nothing is left to the imagination when we express how we feel coupled with corresponding actions.
It is also imperative to practice self-love. Self-love allows you to view yourself in a positive way. Self-love ensures you are placing value on yourself, maintaining your peace of mind and attending to your overall wellbeing. Actions and indicators of self-love may show up in the form of exercise, eating a proper diet, positive social interactions and various forms of recreation. You can also make positive self-affirmations, incorporate prayer, meditation, reading and hobbies.
As we all are navigating a pandemic, racial tensions, injustices and loss of liberties, giving and receiving love can be the healing balm we all so desperately need.
Let’s take time to make the world a better place for ourselves and others. A little bit of love goes a long way, and we don’t have to wait until February to show love. We can show love in September.
If you need support, please call Methodist Healthcare Employee Assistance Program at (901) 683-5658. We are here to help.
At this time, EAP is only offering telehealth visits.
Fredrick Gillam, Jr., LPC
Fredrick Gillam Jr. is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a designation of Mental Health Services Provider. He has experience with specialized populations including victims of domestic violence, trauma, and substance abuse. Fredrick’s passion to bring about change for individuals and families has been displayed through his use of evidenced based practices. He utilizes modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy ( DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Trauma Therapy. Fredrick is a graduate of Harding School of Theology, where he earned a Master of Arts in Counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Outside of the professional venue, Fredrick enjoys spending time with his family. He is an Ordained Minister and is actively involved in his church and the community. He is an avid reader, appreciates a good movie, and loves to be outdoors and go for walks.