Forget the cookie-cutter Valentine's Day greetings and the cheesy rom-com clichés. When it comes to lessons on love, we'd rather look to those who have dedicated their lives to the ultimate form of love -- love of humanity. From political leaders to anti-nuclear activists to literary heroes, these 10 changemakers have led lives worth emulating. So whether you are spending a romantic evening with your plus one or enjoying a night of take-out and Netflix solo, at least one of these truth-tellers is sure to inspire you.
AP Photo/Theana Calitz-Bilt
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
From Long Walk To Freedom, 1995.
“When I say it's you I like, I'm talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.” From his commencement address at Dartmouth College, 2002.
“What is it that I'll want from you? Not love: that would be too much to ask. Not forgiveness, which isn't yours to bestow. Only a listener, perhaps; only someone who will see me. Don't prettify me though, whatever else you do: I have no wish to be a decorated skull." From The Blind Assassin, 2000.
“You think because he doesn't love you that you are worthless. You think that because he doesn't want you anymore that he is right -- that his judgement and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage. You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Don't. It's a bad word, 'belong.' Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn't be like that… You can't own a human being. You can't lose what you don't own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don't, do you? And neither does he. You're turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can't value you more than you value yourself.” From Song of Solomon, 1977.
“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” Paraphrased.
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and lovehave always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall.” From The Story of My Experiments with Truth, 1927.
“I am only responsible for my own heart, you offered yours up for the smashing my darling. Only a fool would give out such a vital organ.” As quoted on GoodReads