Friday, February 26, 2010

Love Defined

Love is one of those topics that everyone becomes increasingly interested in as we grow. Its this idea of an emotion that is so strong it connects us with the object of our affection. Its strength is our curiosity and its attainment is our quest. Humans want to be loved. We have an innate thirst for it. As Mother Theresa so eloquently put it:There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation in
this world than for bread
. I am not here to put a definition on the word love. Quite the contrary, I love that it means so many different things to different people. It can be expressed and felt in countless ways. But I see alot of people mistaking other things for love as well. I wanted to share some observations I have made to help you craft your own definition of what is needed for you to love and be loved.

Love has levels. Love is different. Love needs a personal touch.
Every person you love should not and probably is not on the same level. For me, my love for God and my love for my parents are my oldest and strongest loves. But just because love has levels does not mean any level of love demeans the others, they are just different. The love you have for each person in your life has to be individually crafted. I love my friends, I love my family, I love humanity in general. I love people in Haiti, Korea, and China, I've never met before. Is it the same level as my mother? No. But that's ok. As you begin to open yourself to love, it encompasses your life. Opening yourself up to it brings in other emotions like empathy, compassion, hope, and fairness. After a while, people will be drawn to you because you can feel love on even the most basic of levels.

Love is not to be rationed.
I am always so thankful I grew up in a household of strong yet LOVING parents. I got constant love in both action and word form. It makes a difference. The world can be cruel and that great thing about love is that it can take an edge off the whippings of the world. So if you have someone that you claim to love, telling them how you feel and backing up those feelings should come often. Its great affirmation and sometimes after a bad day, its just needed. Love is one of those things you can't hold in. True love comes out, where it should be.

Love withstands time & distance.
In a finicky fair weather society, many people are claiming to love you yet you can't find them minutes after their revelation. Love is not a quick flame but a slow burn. If you find that when someone is out of your face, they no longer impact your thoughts or feelings, what you felt for them was probably along the lines of the feelings of conquest, passion, lust, or infatuation. Those fade. Love is an attachment you feel in any moment regardless of the space that separated you or the time apart.

Love isn't THAT hard.
Now this one is a biggie. If you find yourself in a constant struggle with an individual who is supposedly the object of your love and you theirs, you are probably dealing with a mimic emotion (I named them earlier: the feelings of conquest, passion, lust,infatuation, etc.) These emotions create the "warm fuzzy" feeling of love but one thing those cannot mimic is love's tranquility. When struggles arise, the mimic emotions make you even more confused and more agitated. Love, not only music ;), usually soothes the savage beast in us all. It makes us limit the damage we inflict on the other individual and weigh out consequences. Love is not confusion. Nor will it ever be.

Love goes hand in hand with other concepts. Love rarely acts alone and since love is so hard to spot on its own, you can look for its companions to help discern it from the mimic emotions. One companion concept of love is respect. Respect and love go hand in hand. I argue that love cannot exist without respect in its presence. Respect is defined as a feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem, I.e. preferential treatment. Respect is what keeps me from hurting an individual and love is the reason for the respect. Because if I don't respect the person that I love, what makes me love them?

Another concept is companionship. Companionship is just a fancy friendship. Its a little more complicated than a regular friendship because of the time and energy expelled. Just valuing time spent with that person above others is a great avenue for love. If you don't like conversing or spending time with your partner, how can you compile the path of emotions that lead up to the Big L?

The last concept is trust. Trust and love don't HAVE to coexist but its such a rockier road with it. Trust is often needed for love because it is trust that allows you to open your heart to receive and give the love. Its hard to love when you believe your partner is capable of ANYTHING under the sun. Though the two are almost mutually exclusive, but they often play on one another. Lack of trust can sometimes squeeze love to its barest minimum.

So, in world in which we don't like to take L's, I implore you to try love. Its a challenging venture regardless of the person you give it to but without it life is less colorful. It is our ability to love that gives us most of our happiness. So on your journey to love whether it be romantic or otherwise, take heed to my words so that you'll create love and be able to discern love from other emotions that have like hues. This topic is going to take me a few blogs to complete but as I sign off, I encourage you to just love humanity and everyone around you. As I stated love does not have to and should not be rationed. Give it freely. You may encounter some times when your love isn't returned but see if that same love doesn't eventually return to you.

I love you all. Hope this helps.

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