Love. Perhaps the most powerful word in any language and, yet, such an ambiguous concept. Love is defined by Merriam-Webster as “an intense feeling of deep affection” and somehow, that doesn’t even scratch the surface. But what is love really about? Is it a feeling? An act? Or something else?
We all have some idea of what love means, and what we want it to look like, and feel like. We hold ideals about what it is to be loved. And, of course, we define our own love for others by our time, our gestures, our sacrifice and our emotions. To most of us, love is both an act and a feeling, or more so a collection of acts and feelings.
The problem with defining love in this regard is that it becomes completely subjective. What one person deems as love may be perceived as loathe or annoying by another. Recall the 5 love languages and the impact of two people unable to express love to one another in their spoken “language.” The mere expectation of “ideal” love is highly problematic. If love has no objectivity, no clear and whole characterization, aren’t we setting ourselves up for inevitable disappointment?
It would be futile to define love as either an act or feeling, or even an assemblage of both. Happiness, contentment, excitement, troublesome, exhausting, tolerating, self-sacrificing. Kissing, making love, holding hands, shouting, hitting. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, mowing the grass, picking up dry cleaning. Writing songs or poetry, playing, vacationing, laughing. All of these things could be descriptive of love for one and not for another. One person’s standard of love can simply not occur for another as love. So how do we find a universal?
What love actually is, is an experience. It’s the way we experience another human being.
Recall the birth of your child…in the very moment you first saw this tiny creature, a part of you, pure and perfect. The way any mother experiences her child for the first time is of love. Perfect, overwhelming love that occurs without expectations or ideals, without definition and without flaw. That’s true love.
To be able to truly love someone, we have to experience them as flawless. We have to tuck away all of their shortcomings and all of their mistakes. We have to turn a blind eye to all of their annoying habits and quirks. We have to let go of all of our expectations and ideals, and simply be with them, without fear, disappointment or idealism. True love requires our ability to free ourselves and free the other person, and simply be present with who they are in the moment.
Easier said than done? For help creating an experience of love in your life, schedule a free consult with me!