What is Love
Most people interact with the idea of Love by the time they’re at least 4 to 5 years old. Who hasn’t experienced fairytales? Whether they’re stories of Prince Charming at bedtime or every Disney movie with a Princess, most portrayals of Love entail a swiftly moving and life-changing force of nature. In an instant, Love sweeps the lucky ones away to a better life and relationship full of passion that supposedly lasts after the couple rides off into the sunset. Sometimes the passionate pair fights through adversity in order to be united, usually the Prince running to the aid of a Damsel or Princess in distress.
Platonic relationships are romanticized when a group of best friends in elementary fall apart in high school due to social differences and always reunite perfectly by the end credits. Those expectations linger in our minds as we begin socializing. Love is that one time at summer camp when we made out with our biggest crush in a perfect moment with Collide by Howie Day playing in the background in our head (yes I know, that got a bit specific but look it up and you’ll understand) and best friends are forever because you both love grilled cheese and red lipstick.
By the time we’re in college we realize that the stories aren’t matching up with real life. Although the relationships most people get into are wholly different from what they grew up watching, they still believe in and seek to re-create this feeling of instant bonding with everyone they meet looking for “The One” to complete them. That one best friend forever, that one passionate lover, that one that drives you up a wall literally, figuratively and sexually, all in ONE person. We seek total fulfillment for the Love we feel we never received from other family, friends or peers in our childhood connections as we grow older.
And then one day it’s almost 2020 and there’s still no understanding of Love. As a matter of fact, most people fell out of Love through raging fights, toxic f-ck boys, devastating divorces, and some stayed single and lonely. A fear of develops. Devastatingly different expectations from reality leaves a taste of deception upon the lips. Everything believed about Love turned out to be the opposite. Those who professed their love, fell in love with another. The best friend forever moves away or gets into a relationship, distance building with each passing day. We can’t take anymore pain. Fear prevents searching for Love and pushes us in the other direction. Soon pain becomes normal, existence becomes pain.
Searching for Love desists and those asking for Love are admonished for believing in its existence. Distrust in others prevents the expression of Love in society causing violence, greed and worship of death to proliferate in its stead. Fleeting pleasures used to pacify the pain from loss of Love creates addictions. Hookup culture encourages “ghosting”, cutting connections at the first sign of conflict. After all of this, how could anyone know Love even if Love stomped on their size 10 Jordans?
Love must be understood as more than romantic emotions. In All About Love, Bell Hooks expresses Love as a conscious effort and willful choice to actively contribute to another person’s spiritual growth including our own. And so the first step is to open the heart to Love within. Self-love brings forth self-acceptance, and freedom to live authentically. Expanding that Love to include accepting others exactly where they are opens the soul to accepting the transitions of Love. Love allows fleeting relationships to transform the soul with the same magnitude as lifelong connections.We can find true love without romance or longevity.
Love embraces understanding each other from a place of “care, affection, responsibility, commitment, and trust.” People change over time and so does the way they need to be loved. Loved ones pass away. Love is the conquering force in healing from the fears and heartache that create anxiety, depression and loss. Love brings us spiritual growth through challenges by giving us the strength to conquer adversity. Many expect Love to be devoid of pain but the transformative power of Love comes through conquering tribulation. From this place, Love becomes an ever-evolving transmutation of pain through remaining vulnerable during hardship.
In seeking to Love fully and freely, we find the freedom to become the Love we sought. Love can be a self-actualizing catalyst in our lives if we stay present and surrender to every connection. The longer the door to Love remains closed, the louder and deeper the silent yearning for Love grows. As a community it’s crucial now more than ever to answer when Love knocks. It’s been too long since Love lived here.