What is “love”? The word itself, with all its connotations and stereotypes, begs to be defined and redefined. It’s within our nature to want to understand love–I mean, who doesn’t want to be loved?
An aspect of love consists of the following. I suppose you can call it the conventional love:
- A boyfriend of girlfriend
- Dating rituals (intimate social exchanges, holding hands to kissing, gifts, etc)
- Butterflies in the stomach, obsessiveness compulsive urge to be with the person you fancy
- Epic distraction
That’s the kind of love I experienced when I first, well, “fell in love”. The first guy I dated gave me all of the above, but when it was over, I realized I wasn’t really “in love” with him; I was just in love with the idea of being in love. For one, I still can’t say I understand him as a person, nor can I say he appreciated me as a person. We were young, eager, little fools.
There is no way this is love. Love is supposed to be more than this, and much simpler than this. That’s why I never wanted to date afterwards. Mostly, I’m scared of going through this stupid conventional romance all over again. Being a writer and all, I spend too much time in my own head as it is. I can’t go through yet another emotional, hallucinogenic, romantic roller-coaster ride.–because it’s stupid. I am so cynical still. I don’t want to fall in love with “love” again.
So what is love, then? Let’s consult the dictionary. How do you do, dictionary.com.
- a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
- a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend
- sexual passion or desire
- a person toward whom love is felt, beloved person; sweetheart
- (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
Everyone knows that, so that’s no help at all. At least, what you can deduce from this set of definitions is that love is something inherent and internal. It is something that originates from the within-side, or from the self.
But still, WHAT IS LOVE!? Or, what does it mean when you are experiencing feelings of love? What are feelings of love? How can you tell if you’re in love?
By the time I finish this post I’ll be bald, because I will have pulled out all of my hair. Now that I’m through with the romantic mumbo-jumbo, I have some ideas about love. One thing is certain: love is not something material or physical. If I love someone, it won’t be because of their financial status, career, physical stature or appearance. Those are ideals, of course. I’m pretty sure I will still be more or less influenced. I mean, physical attraction is a huge part of initial attraction. It’s really hard to be free from the ideas and constructions of beauty as well as society’s ever gaping spectatorship. Things can get complicated and muddy from that point on, whether we are aware of it or not.
What it comes down to, for me, is that loving someone should bring out the best of yourself. When you’re in love with someone, when you’re next to the person you love–you are free to be yourself, you are at the pinnacle of self-expression, without any inhibitions, concerns, expectations, judgement. You are simply, you, at your best, at your most creative, expressive, forgiving and loving. If you can’t be yourself next to somebody, then it’s not true love.
Love, or, what I want out of love, my ideals about love–is that love will allow me to put forth the best of myself. I recall this quote: “I love you, not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you.” Sounds simple, right?
Not really. Nothing is really that simple.
For the longest time, I remained conflicted by the ideals and pitfalls of love, by my yearning and dismissive, cynical attitudes towards love.
Why is it so hard to answer questions about a four-lettered word?