Join us in directly supporting survivors of sexual violence by giving a gift today. Our Wave depends on your generous contributions for our continued success. Every little bit helps ❤️

Brooke Tweedie — February 14, 2024

Beyond the Bare Minimum: A Valentine’s Day Reflection

Brooke Tweedie

Experiencing abuse can be destabilizing to your conception of love. During a process of healing, it can be difficult to trust yourself and others. You may lose faith in finding love in your life, whatever form it may take. On a holiday like Valentine’s Day, these difficulties may be especially prevalent. 

Here at Our Wave, we affirm that love after abuse is possible. We want to use this holiday as an opportunity to reflect on love. Knowing the signs and effects of abuse is important, as is understanding that you are worthy of receiving the kind of love that you need. 

So, what do I mean by the kind of love? How do we define it? 

Love, of course, cannot coexist with abuse. Love is not present where your safety is threatened and your boundaries are not respected. This can occur verbally, physically, financially, and sexually to maintain a sense of control over your person. Experiencing abuse is never deserved, and never your fault. 

The opposite of abuse is basic respect and equality among people, otherwise known as the bare minimum. Love is more than the opposite of abuse. Love can look so many different ways in this spectrum as we choose the people we let into our lives. So what does it mean to you?

The following guiding questions are inspired by a few different sources that explore abuse and love, including All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks, onelove, and love is respect

  1. What helps you feel comfortable as you get to know someone?
  2. Who helps you feel relaxed and calm? 
  3. Where and with whom do you enjoy yourself most? 
  4. Where and with whom do you feel like you can easily express yourself?
  5. Who helps you feel more sure of who you are? 
  6. Who feels easy to spend time with, and freely spend time apart?
  7. Who do you turn to when you are in pain?
  8. Who do you feel comfortable bringing up disagreements or hurts with? How do they handle the conflict? 
  9. Who shows effort to value you as much as you value them? What do these efforts look like?
  10. What are the traits and commonalities of these people, places, and efforts?

We hope that with these questions, you can find the language for your needs and the ways you best receive love. These answers are unique to you, and they may not all be easy to find quite yet. This is okay. As much as loving others is prevalent today, we hope you can show some love to yourself too.

If there is just one thing to remember today, it’s this: Love is out there, and you deserve it. All of it.

Help change the conversation.

Our Wave depends on your generous contributions for our continued success. Donate today and support us as we work to support survivors of sexual assault.

Read StoriesSupport Us

Made with in Raleigh, NC

Safety Exit