I wrote the following definition of love sometime during high school…
Love is….an emotion. It’s a very complicated emotion. it never dies! if you really love someone and it’s true, then it can never die. NEVER! if someone says they love you and later says that either they’re falling out of love with you or they don’t anymore – then you know it’s not true love. because if it is true, then they just can’t stop loving you or fall out of love with you. love is a hard thing to explain, because it can mean different things to different people and there are different kinds. to me love is just like when you like a person. you like their qualities and them as a person. like you like one of your friends. that is a type of love. it’s just another word for like, but in some cases it is a lot stronger, and deeper. love can be a very strong word and some people are afraid of it. they think if you love someone then you must be with them forever and you can’t break up with them or move on. love also differs in meaning by the way you say it. when you say it to your mom or dad or one of your family members, it’s not like when you say it to your friends or to your girlfriend/boyfriend. when you say it to your family or friends, you are typically saying – i like you, no matter what you do, I will forgive you, i will always(?) be there for you and I care about you. when you say it to your girlfriend/boyfriend you are saying that you like them, you care about them, you will always be here for them, and no matter what you do I will forgive you, BUT you are saying it with a deeper meaning and it’s stronger.
What is love??
I probably wrote it during one of the many turbulent times of my high school love story. We loved and hated to extremes, as most young romances do – pushing limits and trying to achieve a Sid & Nancy type love affair. The fact that I stated you can’t fall out of love with someone means that we probably weren’t together for this brief moment in time. It was a crazy, magical roller-coaster ride that still impacts how I view love today.
What does love mean? Today I would still say that it’s not something that disappears, but that ebbs and flows with the realities of what life brings. I will always love my high school sweetheart – not in a way that means I wish I was still in that dysfunctional relationship, but as a memory of the passion, the commitment, and despair we shared. That relationship was the textbook definition of co-dependence. Although, it provided me the confidant I needed during a traumatic period in my life. I learned what the good and bad side of sacrifice meant, the good and bad of sharing love when you’re not sure how to love yourself, and the good and bad of enjoying the sweetness of childhood. With him was one of the few places I felt safe during the chaos of my family life. And I believe that was love.
I still believe that loving someone means accepting them, forgiving them for their faults, caring about their wellbeing, and being present for them.
The fact that I put a question mark after “always(?)” when referring to family love, signifies (to me) the deep trauma that was occurring during this period of my life. I did not have the tools or trusted people in my life to healthily deal with what was happening. I believed then that my family was not there for me, nor at times did I believe they loved me. With time, healing, and lots of hard work I have come to believe that they always loved me. We each did our best during a situation none of us wanted to be in, nor knew how to handle. I know it was love that kept us moving forward together. It is love that keeps us together today.
The definition of love, is similar to that of wellness – it depends on the context, the person interpreting the word, and sometimes even the moment in time when you ask for the definition. It’s personal, yet universally understood. The essence I found in the terminology of love is acceptance. Whether it’s acceptance of a family member, a significant other, a friend, a colleague, an acquaintance, a stranger, an experience, an object, a culture, or the world. It’s loving that aspect for however it stands. This doesn’t mean you accept unacceptable behavior or don’t push for positive growth or recognize where we as humans fall short of perfection – it means that you forgive the faults, care about the future, and are present in the current state – therefore being in a place of acceptance. When you accept, you love.
Love is also fun – it’s playful – it allows you to be free of constraints and enjoy the moment, the person. Acceptance enables us to be grateful, be humble, and be silly. I feel lighter, happier, and more peaceful when I express love for that which is around me. It’s fun to love…which is why I love you!