Three simple words, strung together, intended to convey an array of feelings and emotions. Recently, I read an article byline that proclaimed them to be number one on some current list of the biggest lies told in relationships. It amused me enough to stick in my brain, not because I think it’s wrong, but rather, because I think it’s been one of the most abused phrases for many, many years. We all think we know what it means, you probably have some image or thought of what love involves… chances are, you’re wrong. Maybe not terribly, but the sad truth is that the concept of love, and what it should be, what it should involve, has been so distorted over the centuries that you’d have trouble getting a group of people to agree with each other on the subject.
Well… that’s almost true. There is one detail that everyone, yes everyone, can agree on… We all crave it to the core of our very being.
What is the real definition? I don’t have a complete answer to that. I know that it’s possible to love more than one person, and I know that there are multiple types of love. I also know that love isn’t a “one size fits all” situation, but not because there aren’t common threads between the different types, rather due to the distortion of what we consider love to be today. What do I know about it? Let’s see:
- Love is not stringing a person along, that’s selfishness.
- Love is not abusive. It does not harm out of anger, or a desire to control another person.
- Love is not turning your back on someone because they do something you dislike.
- Love is not being disloyal in your relationships, be it romantic, family, or friendship.
- Love is not a word meant for the “flavor of the week”.
- Love is not perfect.
- Love is not a toy, game, or myth.
- Love is meant to be like a sweet embrace, comforting and peaceful.
- Love is sustaining in its own right. Not in the physical sense, rather in the emotional sense.
- Love is respect, loyalty, supportiveness, appreciation, and honesty.
- Love is unselfish, and often means some sacrifice.
- Love is for friends.
- Love is for family.
- Love is for your romantic partner.
- Love is rewarding.
- Love is real.
With what most of us understand love to be, it’s not surprising that we crave it so badly. What’s sad is that the “love is not” list is more descriptive of today’s society than the “love is” list. It’s really not all that surprising that people jump in and out of relationships the way they do, when you take things into consideration.
When I sit back and watch people on SL, whether it’s in game, or more commonly now, on FaceBook, jump in and out of relationships, I notice one common thread. The phrase “I love you”, with whatever additional text they throw in there, seemingly within minutes of them announcing they’re together. Not the worst things in the world, until you see the same person or people announce they’re with someone new, and plastering that same phrase all over each other’s wall posts and in pick tabs. It’s simply not realistic, not with everything that love should really be.
I’d be willing to accept this “love at first sight” style concept, if it didn’t seem like they were riding the word as if it were a pogo stick, bouncing in and out of relationships within days of each other. That’s not love, it’s a giant banner over your head that says “I want so badly to know what it feels like to truly be loved, and truly love someone else, that I’m willing to look like a whore who can’t make their mind up while I try to find it.” (there’s burn cream on the table to the left, help yourself *smiles*)
You want to know what love really feels like? Well, it doesn’t feel like a pogo stick. Pretty much everyone, regardless of the type of love, will have to go through the same process of getting to know someone and putting time and effort into the relationship before real love will begin.
A new mother spends time developing the relationship with her child, during pregnancy, before she truly loves it. A father will go through part of the same process, but a lot of the relationship building happens after birth. Siblings get to know one another, as well as extended family, and build the bond after the birth, as well. The sense of obligation, protection, etc. isn’t love; it’s the barebones nature of many species.
Think about your closest friends, it took time to develop the friendship into what it is today, work and effort. Fights happen, but they make things stronger. Respect must exist in friendship, as with any relationship, and trust is also of extreme importance. Love doesn’t happen overnight here either, it develops from common interests and bonding, from proving one’s self to be a “good friend”, and then, through the bonding process, love develops. This kind of love can range from simple to something that strongly resembles the familial love mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Those warm and fuzzy feelings you have about your new romantic relationship, that’s the euphoria that comes with having someone show interest in you, not because they’re obligated to, but because they want to. Those feelings are the stepping stones to the real relationship. It’s important to note that those feelings are not love. They’re lust, wonderment, amazement, excitement, and probably a few other things… but they’re not love. Enjoy the ride, but don’t let yourself get caught up in the moment to the extent that confusion sets in. Watch things grow, tend to the new bud, and if it doesn’t start to wither away, you might get to watch it bloom into what you’ve been chasing, love.
Take this blog post however you want, comment below if you choose to… but if you made it this far, you may as well take a few minutes to process what you read. Love exists, it’s such an exquisite thing that all humans crave it, yet it’s so often treated no better than a jacket, tossed wherever it lands, and picked back up when we need warmth. Start appreciating it for the gift that it is, and it might open a whole new world out there for you. Just a thought.