It is not often that I am asked "What does it mean to love/be in love?" This question was brought up in a very blunt and surprising setting not too long ago (this week) and as I ponder it more and more I realize that I have so many answers and many experiences to draw from. Consequently, I feel the need to write them down. It is all still a jumble in my head so let's get organized. None of this is earth-shattering or new, I just feel as though "2011: Year of Change", has really impacted me in this particular area and I would like to clarify my thoughts.
It all started with being told when I was 18 that love is a choice. You simply choose to love someone or not.
Then, someone said that love is simply the reflection of yourself in another person. You love them because you love yourself and see yourself in them.
I have also been told that love is total acceptance of another person. Not trying to change anything about them, but simply appreciating them as another person with all their beauty and flaws.
Often I find that we fall in love someone because we love the 'idea' of them. We have this grand perspective of who they are and conjure up a personality that we think they have and when it is proven wrong we get upset and fall out of love. I find this to be true with both friendship and romance.
So what did I say to this exceedingly deep question? I boiled it down to these main ideas and we rambled on for quite some time about it. Here is a more focused summary:
~ I feel as though love is based on respect. It is not just about total acceptance of another person. You have to uphold yourself and if you let go of all opinion or sense of self then you can lose yourself in that person. When you respect someone you have still created the boundaries of your own personality and asked them to do the same. Mutual respect is absolutely necessary for love to grow. Because respecting doesn't just mean accepting the other person, it means you encourage them to be themselves in all aspects of life - hobbies, emotions, lifestyle, opinions, etc - and you ask them to do the same for you.
~ Trust comes from respect, but is still an element that deserves it's own spot. Positive emotions grow from trusting another person. Nothing kills love faster than jealousy, neediness, co-dependence, or demanding 'things'. When was the last time that someone demanded something from you were you thrilled to oblige? Also, when you trust someone then their actions are not questioned nor is their love. It creates a feeling of simply knowing. Trust creates comfort and love resides where there is comfort.
~ Communication then can happen once respect and trust are established. And I don't mean the kind of communication that is based on 'you should' or 'I want' - rather the kind that creates more understanding and growth in the relationship. Sometimes it comes in the form of asking their likes, or being able to stand up for something that you need in order to be fulfilled. But always, it comes back to not having any guilt attached to the communication and what does that mean? Respect.
~ It is difficult to have love without passion. You could say passion in the intimate and physical chemistry sense of the word, but in terms of loving a friend you still have passion - even if you will never make it to the bedroom =). That other person sparks a part of you that isn't often touched. It could be a sense of humor, shared delight in climbing trees, being spontaneous, eating gelato, discussing politics, or live music - no matter what it is there is a little extra brightness between you that isn't created with other people.
Again, I know none of these things are new ideas. They are simply thoughts manifesting themselves and being put into practice in so many areas of my life. It was fun to be asked this question by someone I hardly knew. They had no idea I have been giving it serious thought for the past oh, say, year and a half. Thanks.
"I’ve done everything in my life that I’ve wanted to do except just
give and feel love for my living. And I don’t mean like:
Roman-candle-firework-Hollywood-hot-pink-love. I mean like: I-got-your-back-love!"