• Gabriela Dittrichova

The year of love: How do you celebrate ♡?

I love you. Three words. Endless meanings. I said them multiple times, but never before did I truly understand what it means to love. But I learned that over the past year when I went through heartbreak and had to stand up on my own feet again. And I finally learned to love myself. So if you ask me how I celebrate love, I will only say one word - endlessly.



In the past decade, I have celebrated Valentine’s one single time. It was the prototype of this day, I got chocolates, flowers, and a silver necklace. And I am grateful that once I could experience this, but now, when all the memories have now faded away, and only the jewelry is left, I know that I will never celebrate love the same way again.


I spent my life trying to be someone else. And only once I stopped faking, I found true happiness.

The past year has been very different and new for me in many ways. Not least because I started writing a book about love (you can find out more here). Writing about love, exploring a relationship with myself, and falling in love for the first time in my life, has taught me a lesson or two about the subject. That’s why I can say with confidence, that the past year for me has been a year of love.


A year of love. Not a day, not an hour. An entire year. I have spent the past 12 months learning to love. I started with myself, as I believe it is the most accessible and yet one of the most difficult ways to learn to love. I have never struggled with low confidence, yet, having been asked endless times - do you have someone? (very popular in the Czech culture) - I started having doubts about whether it is okay that I am still single. And the conclusion I came to? Hell to the YES!


It is absolutely alright NOT to be in a relationship. No one is to tell you what you should and should not do, who to be or NOT to be with. If you chose to spend your life alone, that is your voluntary choice, and never let anyone doubt this.



In March, when I started writing a self-confession about love, about a woman who broke my heart, I realized that I had fallen into a trap of having to have someone. Just for the sake of it. My partner was very dear to me, she still is, but she was changing who I was. And I didn’t like that.


I spent many months alone. Exploring the different elements of my mind and my body. It was very painful, the first time I experienced heartbreak, but thanks to that relationship, I learned so much about myself and who I truly am. And decided I will never let anyone redefine that ever again.


I fell in love with myself. Was not trying to change anything, but to accept everything exactly as it was.

It cost a lot of time to recover and to find a way towards myself. But it was worth it. I have then found the aspects of my personality I had had no idea even existed. I learned that all of us are formed by many factors, and that’s the beauty of us all. I decided to focus on myself. What I want. Who I am. Not judged or predefined by the people around me. Not dictated by society. None of that! I wanted to be me. And if you like that, let’s be friends. But if not, that’s fine with me too.



I finally found a way to love myself. With all the imperfections, the small boobs, the spots on my face, the chubby thighs, and the inability to ever stand on my head or speak German fluently. It’s okay! Nobody’s perfect, that’s what makes us so irresistible. And I love people. I love exploring their ‘weaknesses’ because, for me, those are the biggest strengths of all times.


Consequently, I fell in love with myself. Was not trying to change anything, but to accept everything exactly as it was. A huge part of this transformation also thanks to yoga which taught me how to accept and adore the entire palette of emotions and virtues I possess. And what happened next?


Once I finally made peace with who I was, someone new appeared in my life. I didn’t pay any attention to him at first. We hang out from time to time but nothing more. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, I wanted to be free and independent. And I still am exactly that! I can do whatever I want, I can live the way I want. The only difference, that now I have someone to share every moment of my life with. But again, only if I choose to. No limitations, no compromises. I love it!


Every day, I thank the universe for making me the way I am.

Having spent the last year with Mark has taught me how to love and to be loved in return. I knew how to love myself, but I never thought it possible, that someone could love me for exactly who I was. I spent my life trying to be someone else, pretending and faking. And only once I stopped doing that, I found true happiness.


Every day, I thank the universe for making me the way I am. And I am also beyond grateful for finding someone who appreciates this and inspires me to be the best version of myself every day. Having shared the highs and lows with Mark showed me that it is no good or bad. There is always a range - of feelings, experiences, emotions. And that is the beauty of us.



So when I got asked how we are spending Valentine’s this year, the answer was, in good company, having a few laughs. And not with any heart-shaped chocolates or bouquets. Just us. Because Mark and I don’t need a day on the calendar. We spend our entire time together celebrating love, learning and developing our capability to love, and putting it into practice endlessly.


The past year for me has been a year of love for me.

Our entire relationship is about love. We wouldn’t be together without it. Love, for me, is about admiring each other, inspiring and mutually learning from one another, but never trying to change even in the slightest who you are. Don’t try to make others love you! Love yourself and the rest will come. That is also the key message of my book. What is your definition of love?


All pictures shot for the Nasyp si campaign of Zahradni kviti.