Beyond Romantic Love: Valentine Love for All

February is here, that month of hearts burning to burnish romantic love relationships. What if February became a month celebrating all types of love? Why not send Valentine’s cards to everyone, not just our sweetie, as we used to do in grade school?

Ernest Dempsey,
a.k.a. Karim Khan, our Man from Pakistan, sent me the following Valentine’s Day message to post to our friends around the world.


This February Janet Grace Riehl, author of Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary, touched on an important point regarding love and Valentine’s Day. Janet suggested that if we would extend the concept of love beyond romance to encompass all the good feelings we have for people, then our Valentine’s Day will be more special. The philanthropic appeal at once touched my heart, taking my thoughts to our self-centeredness and its resulting self-confinement characterizing our emotional attachments.

True that romantic love is a defining human characteristic (and more). But often, it has a blinding effect on our human potential to stretch the benevolence of love to all or many around us. In romance, we tend to forget others, many a time even ourselves, as a single person takes the center stage of our emotional being. We think primarily in terms of that person, not realizing that confining our emotional flow to a single channel takes us away from those hundreds of more channels that need this emotional elixir. It is through connecting these many other channels that humanity becomes complete and happy.

For Valentine’s Day, let’s open a window that lead us to open our hearts more fully beyond those closest to us. Speaking from a land where violence and terror haunt our peace each day, I see the love-to-all motto as the path to peace. So it is worth sharing to suggest sending love greetings and cards/gifts on Valentine to all and not our Romantic connections only. To make the day and life happier, let’s widen the concept of love.

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  1. It is comforting to find those of like minds. Thank you, Ernest, for sharing your compassion for a hurting world. It is no coincidence that we fuel and feed ourselves when we put our focus outward…

  2. I am thinking of you and your compassion and hopes through the years.
    I agree with you that love is and can be everywhere we turn and greet it with a smile and warmth.
    I would be so very happy if you and yours and me and mine could live in a world of gentleness and peace. You are in my heart Karim. diane

  3. I get the sense that the idea you’re suggesting – a more universal conception of love – has always been around. It is suppressed, hidden, and camouflaged, perhaps because of the few who take advantage whenever they can. It is dangerous to make an explicit claim – I love you – when it might serve to replace real action. It’s something I almost never say. People who are well liked (myself included, as far as I can tell, and I bet most who read this) tend to show their feelings rather than express them verbally (or maybe do both). I think that most of the time, most of us are trying to please a whole bunch of other people – because if we succeed, it comes back. I like the idea of celebrating that during February.

  4. Dear Barbara, Holli, Diane, and Dave,

    Thanks for expanding the conversation for Ernest Dempsey’s guest post on Riehlife.

    The Greeks had it right when they had different names for love. From Wikipedia:

    There are several Greek words for love, as the Greek language distinguishes how the word is used. Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storg?.

    Janet Riehl

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