It’s a question that for thousands of years people have asking and trying to figure out – what is love?
It has captivated humans throughout history, transcending cultural, social, and geographical boundaries. It has been the subject of millions of poems, songs, works of art, and acts of service in an attempt to capture its essence and make sense of the profound impact it can have on our lives and others.
Elvis Presley shared you can’t help falling into it, while the Beetles said it was all you needed. Foreigner stated they wanted to know what love is and Tina Turner asked what’s love got to do with it. The Bee Gees questioned how deep is your love and Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie spoke of endless love. And despite all this, Madness concluded that it must be love, with Queen stating first it was a crazy little thing, then following it up with – can anybody help me find someone to love?!
And so, is love an individual experience with no one definition and a concept that cannot be explained in black and white simple terms?
I love you can mean I want to spend the rest of my life with you, or I want to spend the rest of tonight with you. We can feel and express love for someone we have been romantically involved with for a long or a short time or someone we simply enjoy spending time with, trust our secrets to, and look forward to sharing an intimately platonic meal together.
Love can make us act in extraordinary ways. People have been known to lift cars with inexplicable strength to save someone they love. Others have travelled the globe with no certainty at all, in search of, or to be with the one they love. Some have literally given their life, or given life after they have died, and all in the name of love.
Love has multiple facets and layers, types, and presentations. It goes beyond individual connections and ourselves. Expressions of love extend to altruism and acts of kindness toward complete strangers and reinforce our desire to comfort, support, and alleviate the pain of others. Love of others, humanity, and the planet encourages us to make the world a better place.
And while this is all great in theory, the reality is that trying to make sense of love has taken up millions of hours and extreme amounts of energy looking for it, chasing it, maintaining it, and often trying to get over a broken heart as a result of loving in the first place and it STILL illudes us.
We are never sat down and taught about love and it is something we are expected to identify and experience for ourselves. So, we watch and observe, in a world of a thousand different types of relationships and expressions of love and are forced to figure it out, with little more than trial and error and a highway of mistakes to guide our journey.
Perhaps part of the reason is that Love means something different to each of us.
Until we can truly love ourselves as well as fully understand what feeling loved means to us, we cannot open ourselves up to demonstrate love for another. Easier said than done.
Love is not without its complexities and challenges. It requires vulnerability and transparency. And it can bring with it a risk of heartbreak and pain when we don’t expect it and when we don’t experience love in our own love language.
Love requires a level of selflessness and demands open honest communication, respect for boundaries (including personal ones), and a willingness to learn and grow – separately and together.
And when we come to that moment, love makes us smile. It brings with it a softness and a desire to make sacrifices for another, thinking outside of ourselves. It inspires great courage and personal growth. It teaches us acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, and the ability to see the beauty in others (and ourselves). It heals, builds bridges, and brings incredible joy and fulfillment to our lives, that cannot be experienced in any other way. It makes us feel happy 💙
Love shapes our lives and every one of our relationships and ranges from passionate to compassionate. It has the power to transform and transcend and is the underlying force behind meaningful connections.
I am reminded of a quote that I hate, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” and yet this is the epitome of how I sometimes feel.
I am one of the lucky ones. I got to experience the most powerful kind of love, a love that has proven to transcend time and cross realms. A love that continues to teach, nurture and envelope me long after others perceived it as being lost. A love that knows no boundaries and inspires great strength that only comes from within… and beyond.
And so my wish for each and every one of you, is that you open yourself up to receiving and experiencing real love and that you journey deep within to understand what this might look like for you.
What I have experienced is this. Love is not something that can be expressed in words and is always something that is felt – and therefore can only be truly known by experiencing it.
Dalya xx 💙