Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

How to Find True Love This Valentine’s Day, and Every Day

Ila Bonczek
Ila lives in the Garden State with her family and four chickens. She has been growing produce and perennials for 20 years, and recommends gardening for food and fun, but not for fortune.
Published: February 13, 2024
Open your heart, and you will find true love where you least expect it. (Image: aivas14 via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Valentine’s Day can be a challenge for anyone, whether you have a sweetheart or not. Fabricated pressure to express “true love,” combined with the emphasis on having a “special someone” can make Valentine’s Day stressful, or even depressing. But if we look at it from a different perspective, we will find that love is all around us, and our capacity for love is boundless.

What is true love?

True love is not limited to the romantic love between a couple, which may or may not be true love at all. True love is an unconditional and selfless devotion to others that comes from a compassionate heart. 

Trusting and enduring, faithful and patient, true love provides us with hope to see us through the hard times and charity that enables us to share our good fortune. With this, we were generated; and with this, we can return to our divine nature. 

Yet in this human world full of temptations and trials, we often lose our way. Out of self interest we pursue one thing after another, cling to various attachments and develop erroneous notions. With such muddled minds, we can easily swap virtue for vice, making it impossible to find true love, even though it manifests all around us.

Where can one find true love?

Macro photo of an individual snowflake. (Image: Alexey Kljatov via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

True love can be witnessed in the perfection of nature. The majestic design of the myriad plants and animals to suit their specific purposes on Earth could not have been achieved by any other means. How does a complex community of honeybees function as one? How can countless tiny snowflakes each be uniquely exquisite? Why is the changing of the seasons an eternal, life-giving cycle? They are all a function of true love. 

We can also find it in human society. The dedication that some teachers or firemen have for their jobs, for example, comes from a selfless wish to help others. Similarly, extraordinary craftsmanship in many fields demonstrates a purity of heart that puts quality over comfort. 

The complete devotion of a mother to her child, and that of a virtuous leader to his country are just as true as the love that makes a good marriage. If we open our minds, and our eyes, we will discover sufficient examples of true love to inspire us every day. 

What keeps us from true love?

Even with all this love surrounding us, various notions can block our ability to perceive and participate in it. One of the greatest illusions is the idea that we are all in competition with one another. The folly in this is demonstrated perfectly in the following anecdote: 

A group of 50 people attending a seminar on happiness seemed unconvinced by the speaker’s words, so they were given an activity. Each was to write his or her name on a balloon, which was then placed in another room, along with everyone else’s balloons. Then they were given five minutes to find their balloon.

(Image: CC BY 3.0)

Everyone scrambled to find the balloon with their own name, but nobody succeeded within the given time. So they were then asked to each give whatever random balloon they found to the person whose name was on it. Within a minute, everyone had their respective balloons.

Finally, they were each given a pin, and told that whoever still had a balloon intact when the timer went off would win a prize. Within a minute all the balloons had been popped. The instructor then pointed out their mistake — it wasn’t a competition. 

Everyone could have had the prize, but we always assume that to win, others have to lose. Life is the same way. If we help each other, we all win. It is the competitive mentality to strive against each other that creates losers, resentment and mistrust. 

How to find true love

To find true love, you just need to open your heart to it. Let go of the notion that you have to seek and pursue it. Accept that true love is everywhere and you will begin to notice it. Start by taking account of all the blessings (big and small) you can be grateful for. A heart of gratitude is not troubled with desires or jealousy, but accepts and is satisfied with all that is. 

Have faith that everything is arranged by our higher power for a purpose. We all encounter hardships, but they aren’t meant to drag us down. They are opportunities provided for us to learn and grow — and change for the better. A second anecdote demonstrates another important principle:

(Image: TimWilson via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Several decades ago, an experiment was done with rats forced to tread water until they were on the verge of drowning, which came after about 15 minutes. The rats were rescued just before they sank, and given a brief period of rest. Then they were placed back in the water to repeat the experiment. 

Incredibly, the already-exhausted rats were able to keep up their struggle for life for not just another 15 minutes, but for a whole 60 hours! Their exponentially increased stamina was attributed to the hope, or faith, that the rats now had of being rescued. When you are going through some hard times, recall those rats, summon some faith, and you will have the power to pass through the tribulation.

Be willing to forgive, both yourself and others. Remember that we are only humans in the process of perfecting ourselves. There will be bumps and blunders along the way, but in any situation you can ask yourself, “how important will this be a year from now?” Looking at it from this perspective, we see that most of our worries are very insignificant in the bigger picture.

Compassion can melt the coldest heart. (Image: zeevveez via Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0)

Finally, shift your focus to others. Our purpose in coming to this world was never to pursue self interest, but to serve others — so that we can all be lifted to a higher realm. Consider how your actions will affect others around you, and make the conscious choice to show kindness, generosity, patience, and true love for humankind.  

In cultivating these virtues, we can see that our vices are like layers of obstruction. When we shed them, we find ourselves more and more immersed in the magical reality that is “true love.”