The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I pondered this statement and decided I disagree with the esteemed Mr. Hugo. As an historical romance novelist, I ponder love and emotions a great deal, as do my fellow romance writers. We are steeped in the feelings of our characters from the moment we put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, as we seek to create authentic, three-dimensional heroes and heroines, who will captivate our readers and with whom readers can identify.
I don’t believe I’ve fashioned any of my characters to gain supreme happiness in discovering they are loved. Sometimes, realizing that one is loved is a relief and a blessing, but it can also be a curse. Sometimes, it causes sacrifice and heartache.
However, I think my heroes and heroines, as most of us in real life, find a measure of supreme happiness from loving more than from being loved.
Another quote, this time from Goethe strikes me as essentially true:
We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.
--Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
--Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
When you love, you are defined by that love. Whether you have taken decades before loving yourself, perhaps after dealing with poor self-esteem issues, or have fallen in and out of passionate love with multiple people from various walks of life, who have in common only that they touched your heart in a special way, or have found one soul-shaking connection with another human being who seems put on this earth for you to love—each time you love, it shapes you, irrevocably.
And often the feeling of loving is sheer joy, similar to the exquisite delight of giving precisely the right gift to someone, a joy that far outweighs receiving a gift, no matter how perfect.
This Valentine’s Day embrace what/whom you love, figuratively and in reality. Think about how your love shapes and fashions you (be it a love for chocolate, a furry friend, your significant other, all of humankind, or even family and friends), and enjoy some supreme happiness, a warm, steady light in the deep dark of winter.
Sydney Jane Baily is the author of the Defiant Hearts series of 1880s American Victorian romance, with excerpts and purchase links here: http://ebookdiscovery.com/sydneyjanebaily.
The first book in her series is An Improper Situation.
Summary: With her chestnut hair and striking green eyes, Charlotte should be the catch of Spring City, CO. But she wears her independence like armor, cloaking herself behind her male nom de plume. A 24-year-old confirmed spinster, she won’t risk heartbreak; that is, until a handsome stranger arrives.
Boston lawyer Reed Malloy has a mission—deliver two orphaned children to their Colorado cousin. He's not prepared for Charlotte being utterly beguiling, or for her flat-out refusal to raise her kin. It will take some firsthand persuasion to complete his legal duty and resolve more tantalizing issues.
When Charlotte forsakes everything familiar and is welcomed into the high society of the Boston Brahmins, sinister forces and scorned women emerge. With passions ablaze, Reed and Charlotte find themselves in a very Improper Situation.
Sydney Jane Baily completed her first novel at the tender age of 17. Thankfully, that manuscript currently resides in an undisclosed, secure location. She went on to get B.A. degrees in English literature and in history, and an M.A. in literature with a concentration in Romanticism.
During her career while continuing to write stories, she has been an editor, cat snuggler, mother of two, and a dog’s best friend, among other things literary and not.
In writing her historical romances, she believes in happily-ever-after stories for an already challenging world. Born and raised in California, she now resides in New England with her family—human, feline, and canine. Sydney welcomes email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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