Hannah Mackin

Valentine’s Day- the holiday of love. We’re surrounded by love, whether it be platonic, romantic, or familial. Reflecting on all the love we spread, it is important to acknowledge the relationships that cultivate this love. When we think relationships, many of us resort to thinking about a boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner. In reality, relationships are more than those that are romantic. They include friendships, brothers, sisters, and siblings, parents, cousins, extended family, teammates, classmates, and arguably most important, the one you hold with yourself. Though all of these relationships may feel quite distinct, they are related because they all have an impact on you. One non-profit emphasizes this in particular, One Love. 

Many Redhawks have heard of One Love through game dedications and fundraisers, as well as workshops in their health classes. However, they may not know what is at the root of the nonprofit. One Love was founded to honor Yeardley Love, a lacrosse player at the University of Virginia. She was tragically killed by her ex-boyfriend on May 3, 2010, just three weeks shy from her graduation. Her family learned during the trial that there were signs Yeardley was in an abusive relationship. As a result, Yeardley’s mother Sharon, and her sister Lexie, founded One Love to honor Yeardley’s spirit, with the goal of empowering young people to see the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships. They have created an education-based approach to stimulate discussion, in hoping to lower statistics of relationship violence. The framework by which they govern their cause on is the 10 Healthy and Unhealthy Signs of Relationships. You can see in the infographic (on the next page) these signs, designed to help individuals put a name to the behaviors they experience in relationships. We can recognize when we are expressing kindness, or trust, as well as manipulation or sabotage. You may notice, for example, that the open and honest communication you and your partner had about boundaries was an example of comfortable pace for the both of you. On the other hand, you may recognize that you were belittled by a friend, when they pointed out one of your insecurities.The aim of these signs is to give some ease when trying to identify things we see in our everyday lives. Several signs can exist synchronously in our lives, and that emphasizes the importance of getting to know them. 

If somebody displays an unhealthy sign, such as deflecting responsibility, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily a “bad person” or “toxic”, though it may be easy to throw those labels out. By recognizing that you exhibited unhealthy behaviors in a relationship, you are taking the first step to learn how to love better. This is a popular phrase that One Love uses, and it essentially means what it says, to love better. This can be done in a number of ways, but it may be helpful to offer some examples. “Loving better” could be as simple as grabbing a friend their favorite coffee as a pick me up, or spending intentional time with a loved one, disconnected from devices. It is in the acts of noticing and caring about those around us that we build stronger and healthier relationships. 

This Valentine’s day, you can choose to love better. 

For info on joining Team One Love Club