Thursday, July 7, 2016

What is Love?

This is another in what may perhaps become a series on Love.  I think that our society, and perhaps other societies, have an idealized view of love, or promote an idealized view of love, that simply is not obtainable on a permanent basis.  In my humble opinion, Love is a crescendo of emotions, brought on by a complex combination of emotions one feels for a person.  It is likely a combination of 'like,' respect, caring, interest, a feeling of being 'in sync' with the person, physical attraction, and appreciation/gratitude.  I do not think that 'true love' is something that starts with a bang, but rather, something that ends with a bang, decades later, when one or both die after years together.

There is another idea of love that has been promoted heavily for decades now; it is the idea of being 'in love.'  The problem with that ideal, however, is that it is short-lived.  By definition, puppy love, or infatuation, or 'falling in love' is a intense, passionate, but also very temporary feeling that comes about because the person, at least for a little while, sees the other through idealistic lenses, and thus does not have a realistic appraisal of the other.  As a result, they skip over the 'like' requirement, or the 'respect' requirement, or the 'caring' requirement, or perhaps even the feeling of being 'in sync,' and rely primarily on interest, physical attraction, and appreciation/gratitude.  The problem with that is, as the person slowly comes out of the spell, and begins to make a realistic appraisal of their mate, there may be problems with respect, or with 'like,' or with being able to be 'in sync,' etc.  As such, the relationship dies, because it was based on a foundation of quicksand, and was essentially doomed from the start.

Another thought:  One cannot love someone if one cannot feel love.  This may sound to be a simple truth, but the fact of the matter is, many people cannot feel true love.  If you are curious as to what this feels like, it is probably the most like the feeling one has for their child, although, again, there are many people who cannot truly feel love for their child, so that may not even be a useful comparison for some.  That feeling of love, which perhaps begins as a crescendo within the person, and not because they were already loving someone else, but because they have reached a point in their emotional evolution that they are able to experience such a feeling, is the necessary basic component of loving someone else.  If one is not able to feel that feeling of love (and I'm not talking about infatuation), then they cannot truly love another.  Oftentimes, people struggle to feel that feeling of love because of their own emotional issues; they may have negative emotions blocking the feeling, or emotional control problems (overcontrol, undercontrol) that make it hard for them to know what the feeling feels like.  Also, if someone is raised with an example of love that is skewed, or incorrect, they may not even know how to recognize the true feeling of love, and may have no clue how to get to that feeling.  And, many parents confuse their children by telling them that they love them, when in fact they do not, and the child grows up convinced that that 'not love' feeling that they feel is what love is.

I submit to you that one cannot truly love another, in the manner necessary to insure that a marriage will last to the end, or in a manner necessary to insure that the connection with your child continues to the end, unless you know what true love feels like, and unless you are able to consistently feel this feeling.  And, it seems, in this day and age, that the true feeling of love is much less prevalent than in the past, because we are all searching for that feeling of infatuation, and rejecting anything that does not meet that feeling.  In other words, because of our skewed definition of what love is, we are dooming ourselves to a live of insecurity and frequent transitions, as we 'fall out of love' and move on, again and again, to the next unhealthy relationship.