What is Love?
What is love? It's just a word. What would you do for someone you loved? What would you do to keep them safe? Healthy? What would you be willing to endure?
What love isn't is an emotion that one can make another have. As a child, the fantasy that love is something that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling is quite common. A warm fuzzy feeling that would flood through your body like a warm welcome shower of softened water. That feeling is so desired that there may still be a hidden wish, a constant underlying want, even a definite hope that that sort of feeling can be attained through love. However for most years of not attaining this love has made a different surface belief. The new belief in many is that perhaps love is just another chore, not the hearts circling around your head.
Love is a choice, this is not a totally foreign notion to everyone. Love is something you choose to do, and many times it's not an easy choice. What or whom you've chosen to love may not now or ever show you any sort of love back. So, when one makes that choice, the choice to love, you must choose to make it a "True Love." My wise grandmother used to quip lots of quotes, and one that is relevant to about any task, is definitely relevant to loving. "When a task is once begun never leave until it's done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all." So this would indicate that love isn't that hearts flying around your head, but something a great deal more substantial. There are actually many times when the decision of love may work against your personal wants and desires, in favor of the one you have chosen to love. There are those that say there is no purer form of love than what a parent has for their child, and if this is a glimpse into that mystery, then for one to love another they must be prepared to endure whatever the one they've chosen to love dishes out. The excuse many use for opting out of this pure type of love is either "I don't want to be taken advantage of," or "that's just being naive." Both of these statements signify the lack of truly understanding the very nature of love, because there is no naivety nor worry of being taken advantage of, in fact quite the opposite. The one who is loving has consciously put themselves in a position of being taken advantage of fully and consciously, and blind naivety is nothing less than illustrative that they are quite serious about it.
Often times the one being loved will make it exceedingly difficult for another to love them, by being rude or shut down, even painfully brutal actions. Helen Keller achieved amazing feats in her lifetime, yet she attributes her starts and perhaps a great deal of her successes to Annie Sullivan her childhood teacher, mentor and person that persevered in showing her love. (A & E Networks, & BIO True Story 2013). A pretty well known story about the lady who became world renowned as an educator and champion for the betterment of others, the true story starts and continues in her educator Ms Sullivan. Ms. Sullivan didn't have someone who taught her this enduring compassion and persevering ability to withstand the continual abuse from Ms. Keller, Annie's own father was purported to be a harsh and mean man who had no patience. So Annie's love is a true illustration of love being a choice, and one that she committed to for the rest of her life (she stayed with Helen Keller until her own death October 20, 1936).
When you have chosen to love someone else, it's counter illustrative of your love to complain about the abuse, no matter what form it takes. If you are asking yourself "is this fair?," then you must take yourself a step farther and ask yourself "have I really chosen to love." In the "ME" generation the concept of this true love may be lost, or at least very well hidden. Many times in the ME generation the general attitude seems to be "what's in it for me," or "what am I going to get in return for my efforts?" Could this actually not be love, and in fact perhaps the opposite of love? Could this even be realistically be called self love, where one is putting oneself above or ahead of all else? When you feel the urge of what am I getting for doing this, or who will notice the great deeds I've done, that is when it's time to stop and re-evaluate your own level of commitment to love.
Doing something for others without the possibility of them returning the favor might be the starting road to understanding what love is. When you can truly adopt the attitude of doing things for people anonymously with out any chance of reciprocation, only then may you be scratching the outer barrier of what love truly is; perhaps even partially discovering the essence of "True Love."
It isn't hard to believe that if this definition of love were adopted the divorce rate would decline sharply, perhaps even coming close to disappearing (absolutes are fictional). Wars would have no value beyond political, and child, wife even husband abuse would vanish.
Think of it on an individual basis, if you truly loved your spouse not expecting anything in return, would it be even slightly possible for that loved one to disappoint you on any level? If you truly accepted them on every level, with all of their "flaws", with all and anything they have ever done, or will do no matter how much it may oppose your personal philosophy, could it make you ever quit loving them? Can you separate the person from the action? Are you keeping track of how many times you have to forgive them? Do you find yourself criticizing them about odd or non-essential things? Do you feel there are good reasons to endow your ultimate wisdom on them, even though they may not have asked you what your opinion, or advice is? Do you find yourself trying to justify your criticisms as well meaning, or "for their own good?" Did you do something for them, and then immediately either consciously or unconsciously put it under the label of "another good deed I did for ______?" (in other words, are you keeping track of what you have done for a named individual, or even for others as a whole perhaps even placing some sort of value on it?) Have you fallen into the modern trap of the best love, is loving yourself, or "how can you love someone else, if you don't love yourself." What about how can you find time to love someone else, if you are so busy loving yourself?
This might indeed sound like a radical definition of love. Indeed it greatly seems to oppose the current popular definition (that just doesn't seem to be working for most), yet it might be the one that is actually real, perhaps even the original meaning of love. So, let's sum it up, Love Is:
- Void of Expectation
- forgiving always and forever (no counting)
- Has no envy
- isn't boastful
- isn't proud
- never dishonors others
- isn't self seeking (doesn't look for what it can get in return)
- Doesn't keep record of wrongs
- always protects
- always trusts (no matter what the past held)
- always hopes
- always moves ahead and keeps on going
- is not angered easily
- committed to self sacrificial action for the full benefit of another
- Suffers a long time, but remains kind
- bears all things
Having this kind of definition of love, one will perhaps think twice before choosing that word as their primary emotion towards another human or thing.