Happy Valentine’s Day: Celebrating love, friendship by being vulnerable and wholehearted

A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from drying out completely.
– Pam Brown

Mike gave me this Valentine gift 45/365

Photo credit: Carol Browne on Flickr

I have always celebrated Valentine’s Day as the day when I thank my friends for being there. In Mexico, February 14th is celebrated as the Day of Love and Friendship (el Dia del Amor y la Amistad). For me, romantic Valentines were few and far between. Valentine’s Day is always a day when I remember how blessed I am for having the friends I do.

I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun.
– Charles R. Swindoll

As time has gone by, I think the thing that made me realize my success online was (as my friend Robert Ballantyne aptly put it, my capacity to show myself vulnerable). I strongly believe this is the case. Much as a few people may see the Hummingbird604 persona as conceited and self-absorbed, the reality is that I am an intensely sensitive man. I don’t let anyone hurt me easily, but the people who can hurt me the easiest are my friends. It takes me a very long while to trust people and call them friends. I don’t overuse the term easily, and that’s why I hate that Facebook calls people “your Facebook friends”, to the point where the meaning of Facebook friend has been translating to “I know you and I need to be connected to you online”. So when a friend betrays my trust, it hurts me deeply.

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.
– Henri Nouwen

But at the end of the day, I can’t live any other way. I love intensely and thus I suffer intensely. I do what Brene Brown calls “wholehearted living” (although I’ve always done that without knowing that the term was called that – Brown arrives to that definition after doing research on shame and vulnerability). I live without fear of being heartbroken. I’ve been heartbroken once before, and I absolutely thought my life was ending. I felt pain like I had never felt before. In fact, I felt physical pain from so much emotional pain. But I survived, and here I am.

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
– George Washington

On Valentine’s Day I celebrate my friends. Those who have stood with me even when they disagreed with my views. Those who have always had my back. Those who can subtly but firmly tell me when I am wrong and why I am wrong. Those who have always time for me, no matter how busy their agendas are.

It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.
– Marlene Dietrich

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my friends. You know how much I love you.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
- Jim Rohn

Related posts:

  1. On friendship, Singles Awareness Day (SAD), Valentine’s Day
  2. Celebrating 5 years of blogging: Happy blogiversary, Hummingbird604.com
  3. Friendship in the context of social networking sites
  4. On dependability and friendship
  5. On friendship and loyalty

Comments (1)

Maggie Murphy (@HeartAGlow)February 14th, 2013 at 7:43 am

Happy Valentine’s Day to you my friend.

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