Dr. Deb’s Mental Health Vitamin: Love is a box of chocolates
By Dr. Deb Wade
GCU Vice President, Counseling and Psychological Services
In the 1994 film “Forrest Gump,” the lead character (played by Tom Hanks) says, “My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
The famous Dr. Seuss once said, “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
THURSDAY IS VALENTINE’S DAY, and love is in the air! Some would define love as that mushy, dreamy, sappy feeling that one gets when time seems eternal and sights/sounds/sensations are brighter and more vibrant than they’ve ever been.
They would say that their hearts beat a little faster, their fingers and toes get a little tingly-er, and a faint blush of pink is felt on their cheeks – all at the mere mention of the name of that special someone.
When love is in the air, everything just seems more exciting and extreme. A whole aisle in the store is dedicated to trinkets and mementos designed to tickle the fancy of your special someone.
Let’s take a peek at that most obvious symbol of love on Valentine’s Day … the heart-shaped box of chocolates:
- The wrapping is beautiful! When love is new and fresh, there is no match for the beauty or the handsomeness of that special someone. “He just takes my breath away!” “She is stunning!” Yet … when love is mature and there is gray on one’s head, there is nothing more magical than seeing that special someone through the eyes of your youth and finding that their beauty is unparalleled … STILL!
- There is variety inside the box! As love grows, isn’t it exciting to unwrap the differences that are found in your special someone? Every day spent with your love reveals differences … some are easy and endearing while some are difficult and challenging. Yet … there is nothing more magical than when, over the years, those differences continue to be revealed and the commitment is deeper than ever … STILL!
- I don’t like some pieces in that box! While it would be boring to love someone who is a clone of us, sometimes qualities emerge that are just not likeable. What to do? Learn how to navigate better, how to tolerate more and how to love him/her despite the uglies. And … there is nothing more magical than when, across the decades, those unlikable “warts” continue to be present, but the glue is even stronger … STILL!
- Some nuts and goobers are inside! Yes, that’s when one realizes that there is a difference between attraction and investment. Any of us can be a little “nuts” at times – but when love is deep, meaningful and committed, the “nuttiness” of that love will not chase you away. Again … there is nothing more magical than seeing a couple who have weathered the “nutty” things that life can throw one’s way and realizing that love is stronger than any obstacle … STILL!
- I’ve decided that I don’t like chocolate anymore! When love is shallow, it’s easy to leave it when you’ve changed your mind. It’s true that at times you may not “like” your mate, but thankfully the “love” and “covenant” are bigger than the “like.” And it’s really magical to watch a committed couple who have kept the “like,” as well as the “love,” alive and vibrant over the lifespan … STILL!
- There is no cheat sheet in this box! Yep, figuring out which piece of candy is your heart’s delight might take a lot of trial and error. But … when you find it, you savor it! How much more important it is for us to find the right one and, over the decades, find that the taste of love is just as sweet … STILL!
On this Valentine’s Day, peruse the aisles of special gifts and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, then smile as you realize that over the years, this love has the potential of growing deeper and more meaningful with each passing day … STILL!
Happy Valentine’s Day!