Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What Is Love?

It seems the word 'love' is thrown around a lot, but what exactly is it?  Lovers use that word, after they meet, to explain to the other the overflowing feeling of happiness and warmth they feel for the other.  Parents use the word to describe that feeling of devotion and attachment they feel for their children.  Married couples use the word to describe the sense of connection and attachment, and warmness they feel for their spouse.  Brother and sister use it to describe their attachment to each other, and to express their loyalty and dedication to family.  All around us, the word is used for so many relationships, and for so many purposes.

However, what is love?  Isn't love a feeling that is, by definition, a feeling that trumps all others...the final destination...the ultimate feeling?  Is it not THE feeling that we all crave, because it comes with it a promise of 'forever' and a steadiness that is unwavering?  Isn't it the strongest of all positive feelings; the one that does not change?

If love is all of these things, then why, so often, does it seem as if it does not live up to its' promise?  Is it that the concept is wrong?  Is it perhaps true that nothing lasts forever, including love?  Is it perhaps true that love is not the ultimate feeling, that love is not for forever, and that love is not really steadfast and unwavering?  Or, is it perhaps the case that the word is used too easily, and without a full understanding of what it is supposed to mean?  Perhaps in reality, a true feeling of love is rare, and people should really be using lesser variations of the concept, such as 'like,' or 'enjoy' or 'appreciate' or 'feel close to' or 'feel attached to,' etc.  Or, perhaps one should simply know that it is a feeling that develops over time, with work and commitment, and should not permit others to use the term so glibly when describing how they feel towards them.

Love, in my opinion, is an action as much as it is a feeling.  In order to love, one must reach out to the other, emotionally, and must put themselves in the others' shoes; they must feel a strong desire to give of their caring and warmness to the other; to make the well-being of the other as important as their own well-being; to wish for their success; to invest interest in the other, and time in the other; to want to protect the other, and to cherish the other.  Love is not something automatic, in my opinion, but an action that must be consciously made, and continuously made, forever.  It is something that must be always nourished, through consistent attention to it, and to the person for whom you have this feeling.  The feeling must be protected by both of those involved in the connection; actions or settings that harm the feeling must be avoided.  Love requires devotion, and without devotion, love cannot survive. It is not that one will do all of these actions if they love someone, but rather that one will probably love someone if one does all of these actions.