Every year when July fourth rolls around, our country puts everything on pause. We clothe ourselves in red, white, and blue, barbeque with our families, and enjoy fireworks by the water. This celebration of our patriotism is a prime example of love towards a community. Our undisputed gratitude for freedom and strong belief on equality is what has bonded our nation together as one since the days of the Founding Fathers. This projection of love is portrayed in several ways.
The obvious display of patriotism is the American soldiers who are voluntarily completing their duties all over the world, risking their lives every day and sacrificing a comfortable living back at home. These brave men and women feel strong loyalty to the country and finds true joy labeling themselves as the proud members of the US troops. By being out in the field, they are honored to be representing a country that they admire and respect to the fullest extent.
Voting should not only be considered as a civic duty but a political privilege that allows the citizens to be a part of the nation’s voice. Agreeing deeply with this statement are the following two individuals. On the day of the Presidential election, Galicia Malone, a resident in a Chicago suburb, made her way to the polling booth with her water broken and her contractions five minutes apart. Addition to that, Ken Knight from Buda, Texas, with the help of his family pushing his wheelchair and his two tanks of oxygen, filled out an early ballot on the previous Friday before his death on Election Day (Hightower). These two cases exemplify true patriotic love that illustrates how much they value being a contribution to the country.
As one networks through the span of his lifetime, he encounters thousands of people and from those, he will select as few or as many of them, to carry on a relationship with. However, one tie that he cannot pick and choose is his family. Family is an inevitable bond that embraces each and every member to connect amongst each other both physically through blood and mentally through emotional attachment. These factors make it impossible for one to ignore the value of family, resulting in an innate growth of love.
Sharing the same chromosomes and last names, family is an inevitable part of one’s identity. With these people, he shares a home. A home is not just an end destination where all the family members come to at the end of their days. It is much more than that. It is a physical and mental haven where they can all take a breath away from their consuming lives, share their worries, comfort those who are suffering from pain, and simply enjoy the company of each other’s. These moments that one shares with his family, whether it is good or bad, is what nurtures the relationship that they have.
A family is more than a mere blood relation. Hence, when one loses a family member, it is very difficult for him to recover from the emotional trauma because he will be in essence, losing a big part of himself. Drowning in grief and sorrow, he will spend his days feeling empty and broken and will fail to function properly. Some suffer from serious psychological damage, which may result in illness such as depression. Evidently, family is very dear to one’s heart for it continuously grows within him.
This love is often forgotten or exaggerated to be seen in a negative light: self-love. Self-love is not about vain narcissism, rather more of an unconditional support system that is responsible for always prioritizing one’s self before another (“Self Love”). This requires one to cultivate a relationship with one’s self, reevaluating his dreams, assessing his strengths and weaknesses, identifying his morals, and accepting that he is in fact worthy as a human being. This development is essential in figuring out one’s true, core identity. Over the years, I have learned that life can hurt you more than what the band aids can cover. Life has relentlessly kicked me in the stomach in ways that have hurt my emotions, second guessed my beliefs, and crushed my fantasies. There were days where I would open my hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises, days when I would try to fly and the very people I trusted for support were the ones standing on my cape, and days when my rain boots would be filled with disappointments up to my knees and these were the times when I benefited from self-love the most.
Growing up as a Korean-American, it was not the easiest for me to figure out where I belonged. Having been born here in US, I can barely speak Korean, only eat Korean food on rare occasions, and am not knowledgeable of the Korean culture. Other Koreans did not look at this so keenly. They viewed me to be disrespectful to the country of Korea and sometimes even a shame. Realizing that I was not so welcomed there, I turned to other Americans for a better reaction. However, growing up in a relatively white dominant suburb of Philadelphia, I was always looked at differently. I sounded the same way and acted the same way, but that did not hide how I looked. It did not matter how hard I tried to act like my friends because I was and will always be different from them. At a younger age, I was very confused that I did not seem to fit in with both crowds. I would cry for days asking why I am the way I am and constantly look down on myself. Nonetheless, as years went on I began to see things in a different light. I saw all the positive attributes of the situation. I continued to learn more about myself and soon enough, I realized that being exposed to culture was a true blessing in disguise. By facing my own self instead of staying distant, I have become my own biggest supporter that I can always count on and have concluded that I do not belong under a title for I am nothing but my own self.
Love for one’s country, love for one’s family, and love for one’s self: these are all different types of love that share the same characteristic of love that is the unbreakable affinity, rooted deep within one’s self. http://www.examiner.com/article/15-different-types-of-love
Hightower, Jim. "Heroic voters." The Progressive Dec. 2012: 74. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA313160232&v=2.1&u=hatterslib&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-self-love.html