A short time ago, I was watching an old Valentine’s Day special on television in which a few characters felt the pain of unrequited love. Each of them attempts to gain the attention or affection of another character only to have their efforts sabotaged at each turn, either through an outside force or by some fault of their own. Each time, they complain that they might never feel love. I have seen the special a few times, but on this viewing, I kept thinking about how I personally conceive love. I generally have positive feelings about love; I have a hard time thinking of moments where my desires for affection have gone unanswered.
To me, love means being close to someone you truly care about. Even though I do not like it when people get too touchy-feely with me, I do enjoy a quick hug or kiss as a small token of affection. The sense of contact with someone makes me feel very satisfied knowing that person cares for me.
When I was young, I relied a lot on my parents for support when I was placed into unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations. They were close by if I got too scared, ready to comfort me with a warm embrace and encouragement to try again. As I have gotten older, I have become more comfortable trying new things either on my own or with other people, but I still enjoy being with my parents the rest of the time and they still give me comfort when I am afraid.
When my cat Precious was still alive, I showed her the same sort of love that my parents gave me. I often gave her small hugs and petted her when I felt she was afraid (she often cried softly when she got older). When I showed her affection, she usually purred and appeared to greatly enjoy my presence. This positive feeling is the same kind of feeling I like to share when I give signs of affection to others. When I feel happiest, it can rarely be said that there is a quiet moment because I often make small noises during these times.
Of course, there have been occasions when my desires for affection have been temporarily denied. Sometimes my parents are busy or I do not want to be around them. At other times, such desires are not appropriate for the situation. During these periods, I sometimes feel like the characters in the TV special I previously mentioned. The world seems a lot less accommodating, and I feel very lonely and unwanted. It is not exactly a heartbreaking situation for me, but the depression can be hard to deal with. At such times, I do not feel like showing anyone around me love until I can sort things out. Fortunately, these moments often pass by quickly, a welcome change in my view.
I take expressions of love and affection very personally. I have come to treat them as emotional hooks that keep me tethered to those who I care for and who care for me in return. They also come often enough that I am certain there is little chance of my suffering the prolonged depression the characters in the TV special expressed. Just in case this does occur, though, I will continue to appreciate moments of love and give love to others around me in return.