Valentine’s Day is a chance to reassess love |

Valentine’s Day is a chance to reassess love

This is about love. This is about attraction and what makes one person like or love another person.

Each of us is two people. We are who we are, and we are what we are.

What we are is a carpenter, a doctor, a lawyer, an Indian chief, a school teacher, a janitor, a banker, a millionaire, a pauper, a poet, firefighter, police officer, scientist or gas station attendant.

It is what we are in the eyes of the world. It is what we do for a living or what we don’t do, in other cases.

Who we are is our real person. Who we are is a man or a woman. Tall or short. Smart or stupid. Lover or fighter. Nice or nasty. Loving or hateful.

Who we are is the true essence of our being. It is what we were when we were born and who we will be the day we die.

What we are can be directed. You can go to seminary and become a minister. Completing medical school and passing some tests makes you a doctor. The bar exam successfully completed might make you an attorney. These are things that you can learn in order to become what you are.

The lesson in all this is that we need to be aware of not liking or loving people simply because of what they are. We need to like or love people because of who they are. We need to be attracted to the person rather than his or her position in life.

We are all aware of the turnstile of Hollywood marriages. One of the reasons actors and entertainers jump in and out of marriages is that they fall in love with what the other person is rather than who he or she is.

Actors who work together, fall in love, get married and then divorce in a few months, fall in love with the character the other person was playing rather than the person himself or herself.

I never read the tabloids beyond what I can see on the cover as I wait in line at the store. That is enough to convince me that this theory is nearly always true in Tinseltown.

There are some exceptions. Take Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. They are in their 70s or 80s, and I would bet they love each other because of who they are rather than what they are.

This can also be carried into other personal or professional relationships. As a politician, I am always being courted on one issue or another. I know that if I were not a county commissioner, people would probably relate to me differently.

We would all like to believe we have some great charisma or gift to bestow on others, but check with anyone one day out of political office, and he or she will tell you the party is over at that point. People want to be close because of what a politician can do for them rather than who the politician is as a person.

There is a way to test this. When you talk about your friend, lover or spouse, do you talk about what he or she does? Do you talk about the things your partner has given you? Or do you talk about the person?

Do you talk about how loving, caring and generous your partner is in life? Do you talk about how great the other person makes you feel? Do you talk about wanting to spend time with him or her? Think about it.

The most important thing you can give your lover this Valentine’s Day is yourself. Your time. Your attention. Your unconditional love.

And show him or her who you are rather than what you are.

Columnist Gary Lindstrom appears in this space

on Thursdays.

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