“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it’s what you are expected to give–which is everything.” -Anon
A million words could be said on love, and it wouldn’t scratch the surface. Love is the most complex and yet most basic of human emotions. So many different things are interrelated to love, and often confused with it. Lust, compassion, trust, vulnerability, selfishness, selflessness, pain, ecstasy…just to name a very few.
Love comes in so many forms. We are socialized to automatically think of romance when we hear love. Hollywood, cable, and record companies fixate us on romance. The physical desire, the fairy tale high, and the exclusivity of romantic love are all compelling forces. But other forms of love are just as powerful, though much less idolized in our culture.
There’s the special kind of love reserved for family. No matter how horrible they may be at times, you love them. It doesn’t matter what they do or say, you just love them because they are your family. Then there’s love for the people you can relate to most. My best friends are all people I can feel comfortable with quickly, but always want to take more time to understand their depth. I feel united to them in our commonality. I guess this is called “kindred spirits.” There’s also love for people because they’re completely different than you. You get a fresh perspective on the world, and it opens your eyes. You’re forced to re-evaluate everything about yourself, and it makes you stronger. You owe those people a lot. Then there’s religious love, though a lot of people don’t get it. To me, it’s the most powerful- the knowledge of being loved by a God who owes me nothing and is so indescribably greater than I. It’s so comforting to know someone loves me even though I’m the least deserving, because that means I can’t possibly do anything to screw it up, and I don’t have to earn it. There are a lot of other kinds of love and motivations for love. Like I said before, it’s so complex. I could go on forever and not get close. Perhaps it’s foolish to even try explaining. Like this quote I ran across,
“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” -Paulo Coelho
I reflected today that in my life four guys have professed romantic love for me. I’ve only dated one of them, am still dating him, and was dating him at the times when each of the others let me know their feelings. A couple of them were a really long time ago, back in junior high and high school. I’m pretty positive they’re not sitting around pining after me these days. But the point is that I’m not even anything all that spectacular. I’m just an ordinary girl. I wonder how many professions of love really amazing people have to reject. There must be a lot of broken hearts out there.
I used to think that it would be great to have lots of guys want me all the time. I could feel good about myself and have lots of choices. But I was a lot younger and stupider then. I’m not so shallow now, not so naive. I’ve learned that if you have any sort of heart, even two guys interested in you at once is far too many. It doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, it makes you feel terrible. When someone cares about you, it’s not so easy to just tell them no. It sucks.
But I still think the world needs more love. When you love someone, you have to give yourself up. You have to learn ultimate trust and vulnerability, sacrifice and compromise. Society tells us that we should always be strong and in complete control of our own lives. Vulnerability is looked down upon. People are told they should never sacrafice or compromise. If you want something, you should have it, no matter what. We’re all about self-gratification. But in my experience, self-gratification often turns out to be…well…not very gratifying. Love is better. Giving selflessly to other people, caring about them far more than you care about yourself, that’s what really fulfills a person.
What would the world be like if everyone tried to love each other? I’m not talking about 60s style free love in the romantic or sexual sense. People should take the time to consider each person they meet as a person. See their flaws and their good traits. See their depth. Understand that they have hopes and goals and fears and secrets and pain just like you do. And try to feel for them. That’s love. Love is all you need.
“Though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” -Tolkien from The Lord of the Rings