In a book called The Art of Loving, psychoanalyst Erich Fromm declared that love “isn’t a feeling, it is a practice.” Truer words have never been spoken, especially during this pandemic where keeping the flame alive with our loved ones “requires discipline, concentration, patience, and faith.” 

“The old normal is never gonna come back, and we have to accept that the new normal is something that we have to invent and create as we go along the way,” says Mindset trainer and Yogi Rica ‘Rix’ Hernandez. 

During Emapta’s Valentine-themed Facebook live event aptly named Love in the Time of Corona, Marketing Lead Bianca Osorio spoke with Coach Rix to provide valuable advice in loving not just other people, but yourself as well. 

So, whether you’re falling in or out of love, here’s some heart-to-heart talk to set you on the right track. 


On being single:

With heightened feelings of isolation when we’re holed up inside our homes, it can be tempting to seek someone to avoid feeling alone. However, Coach Rix warns against the dangers of infatuation when we forget to see the people for who they really are: “If you meet somebody whether it’s online or in a party, we default into thinking that “Oh my gosh! This might be the one”. But when we do that, we risk idealizing them and minimize automatically our differences.” 

Patience pays off, even seeking someone else online. Coach Rix remarked, “I think both parties should be first aligned with how to approach the dating scene. They have to be on the same page and of course an effort to keep the conversations fun and interesting. It has to be contributed by both parties.” 

Lastly, you don’t always have to find someone else to be happy! Buddhist Monk Thích Nhất Hạnh, also known as the world’s calmest man, reminds us that loving starts from within. Be comfortable with your own skin, pursue your own interests, and who knows, someone who shares the same passion might look your way. 


On dating:

Seeing each other eye-to-eye can be challenging if you can’t meet in person, but there are ways to be successful in dating even if it happens purely online. “If it’s really about love, it’s also about giving and learning how to shape yourself in a way that can accommodate your love that invited to your life,” Coach Rix said.

So how do you woo the person on the other end of the screen? “We just have to be creative and not to be selfish,” Coach Rix added. Learn each other’s love language. It’s similar to learning how to speak the language of the country where you work. If they like words of affirmation, then expressing yourself through thoughtful messages is the key.

Time and service may go hand in hand, where you can support them during difficult times or call them every now and then. If they like gifts, then e-commerce sites are your best friend. 


On relationships and marriage:

For those who are married or are living together, the clashing of working from home in the same space as your partner can take a toll on you, no matter how much you love them. Work used to be the outlet that momentarily separates us from partners and/or kids, but there’s a tendency to feel trapped when everything’s happening in one place.  

“We’re so imbalanced. We’re working and living in the same environment that blurs the boundaries, and it’s really hard.” Coach Rix added, “It’s just really a mess, but it’s wonderful to hear good stories in relationships that strengthen this pandemic.” 

While it’s a “united we stand, divided we fall” situation, being too clingy or too distant from our partner will not be ideal too. Strike a balance between having time for yourself before or after interacting with your partner. Coach Rix advises: “Create space. Try to wake up a little bit earlier, 3 or 4 hours even because that is going to give you ample time to be alone with yourself. Sometimes, we only need 30 mins of no stimulation, quiet time and all of that and you can give that to yourself.” 

When the inevitable happens and you end up having a disagreement, try to do it somewhere safe outside your home, according to Coach Rix. “The worst thing to do is talk to each other in the comfort of your house because that is your comfort zone. That is where you allow just to let your guard down and be your ugliest. However, when you go out and bring the conversation outside, you’re on neutral ground. You are both physically beside each other which demonstrates that you are more open and you are together as a team.”


On break-ups and self-love:

Probably the worst time to part ways with your partner would be during the pandemic, where you can feel more than ever. While spiraling down can be a tendency and we must be forgiving to ourselves if we do succumb to the pain, Coach Rix reminded us that it doesn’t have to feel this way forever: “It really takes a mindset of going to war with the loneliness and sadness and the isolation. The difference is you should be able to put a deadline also for yourself and tell yourself “I’m just gonna give myself 2 weeks, a month, three months, or maybe a year.” 

So how does the classic line of “never giving up” apply in this heartbreaking scenario? When we tend to focus on the pain of losing other people, we may forget to see how we’re also losing ourselves in the process. Just as you are committed to giving love to someone special, you should also have the same intensity of commitment or even more when it comes to loving yourself. Coach Rix added: “Put down a written declaration of your commitment that this is just my limit, and after this, if I don’t pull myself, it’s on me. But sometimes we really need that tough love for ourselves.” 

We may have loved and lost only to go through the same cycle again and again, but one thing’s for sure that applies from singles to married people: always cherish the feeling that you have the ability to care for yourself and others. “There’s beauty in everything,” Coach Rix said. “As long as we learn how to see it from another angle in our lives, even during these challenging times.” 

For more stories and advice on loving during the pandemic, watch the funny, heartwarming, and inspiring moments from our Facebook Live Event: Love in the Time of Corona here.