… let me count the ways

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Au bal: Manet’s thrilling expression of love’s sizzle   in the Courtaud Gallery’s collection

St Valentine’s Day: an apposite moment to reflect that in loving someone our most doting act is to set them free.

One in Three Hundred and Sixty five days seems insufficient an allowance in which publicly to express romantic love and eros. But hold a moment: erotic love is but one of many – parental love; friendship love and agapé, the love of God for humanity.

And while perhaps not so much today, the component parts of love still matter: kindfulness, generosity of spirit, affection, tenderness, cherishing endearment. Thus, perhaps this 0.3% of a year we are given license to yodel sonnets to our belovéd ought be seen in the context of competing claimants on our time. And yet …

The vulnerability of love is as piquant as its strength.

The thing it’s easy to forget is that being kind to oneself fosters the desire to be kind to others. Lovingness is a self-fulfilling prophesy and accepting everything we are gives others permission to do the same.

If you love someone or something this Valentine’s Day, set yourself free.

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