I’m a real girlie girl, I always dreamt of my life being one big Bollywood film (I would be played by Deepika Padukone or Shilpa Shetty for some reason!) The love stories portrayed in Bollywood films made me believe I’d immediately know who “the one” would be, that every guy would travel miles for you, that that kind of romance is what we should all aspire to have in our lives.
Ever since I can remember, I have had a very strong relationship with love. Being a life long singleton, I always felt something was missing. As soon as February would come I would start seeing all the love hearts around me that reminded me how single I was. With time, that feeling simply just grew, until one day something just clicked. Valentines Day, now just seen as a Hallmark holiday, was once commemorated for Saint Valentine of Rome, where he was imprisoned for performing wedding ceremonies for soldiers who were forbidden to do so. His last letter was to his jailer’s daughter, signed “Your Valentine”, but most people that send roses and shower their other halves with gifts on this day probably don’t even know why they do it or where it started from, they just do it because that’s the norm now. Do I really want to do something because everyone else is doing it?
But one of the biggest life lessons I’ve learnt over time is you don’t need to be in a relationship to be in love with love. Bollywood and Disney may have warped the notion of real love in all our lives but actually if you think about it, there a beautiful hidden message.
Islam teaches you to love yourself, to be the best person you can, to show your love of humanity through compassion and a softness of heart, to do justice to the purpose you were put on this Earth for. A huge part of what Islam teaches about being the best version of yourself, and love for me is such an integral part of being a good Muslim and, moreover, a decent human being. Without love and compassion, I wouldn’t have that feeling that no matter how bad things might feel, He has given me this life so I can help those that are less well off, or in unfortunate situations.
I know I know, the halal police is gonna be having a field day, and I’m aware that most Muslims believe that Valentine’s Day should not be celebrated (some even decree it as being haraam! Calm down love!). I agree, but I only agree because you shouldn’t have to wait for 14th Feb to tell that person you love them or buy them flowers. And by that person I don’t just mean your significant other, I mean your mother, your father, your friends, your mentors. Tell them you love them before it’s too late.
I remember not so long ago when my dad used to buy my mother a dozen roses and we’d ask him what the occasion was, there was no occasion no birthday, no anniversary, nothing he’d done wrong. Just a husband wanting to put a smile on his wife’s face, because according to Islam it is a husband’s responsibility to keep his wife happy in whatever means he can! If you grow up with that kind of love around you, it’s impossible for you not to have love in your heart for humanity.
Word of advice – it’s totally overrated! So, don’t be disheartened by what you see on TV and films, their job is to romanticise everything to make it seem as though its real. It could be but that’s not always the case. Have a relationship with love, a strong one, let it grow inside your heart, but don’t let it overcome you.
Particularly to those of you with children or young ones around you, try and show them that love, really is, all around. Express it to them. That the love they see around them makes that cold, harsh, bitter outside world a better place.
I have come to realise one thing.. in the search for “the one” the only one I found was The One, the one who mends hearts, not breaks them. Focus on that love that He has created in your heart and the love you have for yourself and life will be so complete and content. And if you find a partner on the way, it’s a bonus, but not the end goal by any means!
I love you all for all the support and love you always show me and I’m so grateful you’re all still here following my journey, and learning to be grateful every single day of what is left of our lives xx