Student Voices: What It Really Means to Love | Work of Arts
Student Voices: What It Really Means to Love | Work of Arts

Student Voices: What It Really Means to Love

True love is hard work, not the superficial glitz of Valentine's Day

Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and viewpoints of current Arts students. Through their posts, you’ll experience the creativity and passion of our students as they present glimpses into student life. The views and opinions expressed within these posts are solely those of the authors.  


Valentine’s Day has passed.

Our Instagram and Facebook feeds are no longer bursting with ecstatic posts proclaiming love. And the flare of romantic intoxication that fervently coated the media with a thick layer of pink and red has promptly faded away.

Sometimes I feel that the idea of love that is commonly idealized in popular culture often skews our understanding of such a deep — and quintessentially human — quality. This artificial notion of romance portrayed on screens and magazines, where true love equates to smooth sailing and eternal glee, sloppily sugar-coats the concept of a relationship and makes everything seem so undemanding. People become convinced that love is easy and they’ll simply give up on it once the euphoria fades or things get difficult. Like the flowers that die soon after Valentine’s Day, this kind of love is fleeting. No wonder nearly half of all marriages today end in divorce.

The reality, though, is that a relationship is not an effortless endeavour; there will be troubling talks and maddening moments. That doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a relationship. A true love will endure all things. True love is having the perseverance to ceaselessly work together through inconceivable circumstances and trying times for the simple purpose of still being together. And it is this ability to have an unwavering faith in another person, and an incorruptible hope for a better future with them, that will build a deeper love.

My grandparents have been together for nearly 55 years. And they’ve faced unimaginable difficulties over decades that could have easily divided them. Today, their love is as strong as ever. They never go anywhere without each other and I don’t think they ever even leave the house without holding each other’s hands.

I also recall my cousin, who travels around the world for his music career, saying that every time he sees his girlfriend again after months on the road, it’s like a celebration for them. It’s a celebration, because together, they were able to work through all the months and the miles and be together again.

Happiness must be cultivated. True love thrives not on consistent charm and boundless bliss, but on the deeper satisfaction that comes from overcoming struggles.

True love is having the perseverance to ceaselessly work together through inconceivable circumstances for the simple purpose of still being together.

I know there are those of us who see love as a volatile war zone and relationships as a realm of regret. When you cared, you felt a pain that never seemed to go away. When you loved, you were broken in a way you never thought possible. It’s hard to get attached and care again when it seems like every person we’ve grown close to has betrayed our trust or left us in the dark. And when something comes along that seems real, we don’t know what to do with it. A relationship really isn’t a welcoming thought when we always seem to find ourselves alone again after giving it our all.

The truth is, although it can hurt sometimes, love is an intrinsic human experience and it makes us feel alive. I think we should be more afraid of letting fear push us to a point where we stop giving ourselves opportunities to be happy than to be afraid of getting hurt again.

We can never truly leave the past behind, but we can still build a better future for ourselves. The scars of a broken heart are not marks of defeat; they’re symbols of wisdom. Use your wisdom to discern between the genuine and the contrived.

I hope you’ll find the strength to put yourself out there once again. Because eventually, someone will come along who won’t hurt you. There will be someone who not only loves you, but makes you love parts of yourself that you wanted to hide or didn’t even know about. Someday, you’ll meet someone whom you can learn from and keep learning from, who’ll shape you into a better version of yourself and who will make you see the world a little differently.

It may take some time and effort, but it will eventually happen. And when it does, it’ll be worth it.

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About Jeremiah Ellis

Jeremiah Ellis

Jeremiah Ellis is a first year political science student with an English minor. Originally from Canmore, Alberta, he currently lives on the Arts Leadership Cohort floor in Lister Hall. He is a loyal Toronto Maple Leafs fan who enjoys reading, writing, films and hockey. He has a keen interest in literature and human rights and hopes to work in a field where he can be involved in social justice.