PART I – Quote, Unquote.
Every once in a while we sit down and ponder, about life. What we have made of it and how successful we are. Who am I and am I who I wanted to be? We also reflect on all those moments, people and relationships that shaped our life. Some that have scarred us forever and some that have miraculously touched our heart.
In reflections, the one thing that comes to the forefront is the colorful emotions that we experience in life, emotions that most definitely define us and make us who we are. One emotion that inevitably comes to mind is ‘Love’. What is Love? Its importance, its meaning, its value and its origin? The answers we seek and the answers we find usually do not match.
Some quotable quotes:
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
― Marilyn Monroe
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
― William W. Purkey
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
― Dr. Seuss
or just Click on the link to read what Bob Marley says about love!
One American poet put it perfectly when he said, “Everyone admits love is wonderful and necessary yet no one agrees on just what it is.”
That’s absolutely true. Everybody talks about it, seem to have an opinion about it, have experienced it in someway or the other but most of them seem unsatisfied about the quality and quantity of love they have received. So I took it upon my self to go on a journey of finding the meaning of love. I wanted to put down the various changes an important emotion called ‘love’ goes through in life as a person grows and how it’s meaning changes in every relationship. How it changes you and makes you who you are.
Love is like soul food to a person. It is the elixir of life and brings us lot of joy. It can be so fulfilling that you feel secure in every breath you take. It brings out the best in you, making you more confident and puts a smile on your face. That is what love does to you but what does it actually mean? When I actually sat down to write this article I found myself at a loss for words as to how to describe love. It was difficult to put forth a rainbow of emotions in a page. So I will try to write it in parts, one color at a time!
So I was off on my journey, to find the meaning of love. Like everyone else I too tried the easy way out and made my first stop at the dictionary. What I found surprised me and left me more confused than ever.
Here’s what it said,
“ LOVE, n.,
– a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
- a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for parent, child, or friend.
- Sexual passion or desire
- A person toward whom love is felt; beloved person sweetheart
- Used in direct address as a term of endearment affection or the like
- A love affair; an intensely amorous incident
- Sexual intercourse; copulation
- Personification of sexual affection, as Eros or cupid
- Affectionate concern for the well-being of others
- Strong predilection, enthusiasm or liking for anything
- The object or thing so liked
- The benevolent affection of god for his creatures or the reverent affection due from them to god
- Out of affection or liking for pleasure without compensation; gratuitously
- Feeling deep affection or passion for…; enamored of…
- To have profoundly tender, passionate affection for…
– SYN: tenderness, fondness, predilection, warmth, passion, adoration, love, affection and devotion all mean a deep enduring emotional regard, usually for another person. Love may apply to various kinds of regard, the charity of the creator, reverent adoration toward God or toward a person, the relation of parent and child, the regard of friends for each other, romantic feelings for another person etc., Affection is a fondness for others that is enduring and tender, but calm. Devotion is an intense form of love and steadfast, enduring loyalty to a person; it may also imply consecration to a cause.
This was the meaning given in the dictionary!!! I guess by far this must be the longest explanation for a four-letter word in any dictionary. The fact that it needs such a lengthy explanation goes to say that there’s no one way to explain it and it still leaves some questions in the mind of the seeker. It was confusing. What is love? How do you differentiate between friendship, love and lust –the three parts of love? Why is it so important to a person’s life that it makes and breaks people? How much of love is enough? How do you measure love? And so on…
I realized there was more to love than what we see and hear. I often hear people saying when asked to describe love that “its hard to describe love, you have to feel it”. They are probably right, one has to experience it to know what it is. That is because the experience of love is unique to every person and only the person who has experienced it knows what was felt. Love is the very essence of life. It brings everyone closer. It brings in trust, faith, affection and more importantly hope. It gives hope for a day filled with sunshine and that makes life go on. That’s the power of love. In every relationship it plays a different role and everywhere it leaves its mark.
When I asked my close friends what they felt about love and what they would do for love, I got all kinds of responses. Here is a brief assimilation of their responses.
“One has to be mature to know love and what happens at a younger age is infatuation and ……… Love involves a great deal of sacrifices and a give and take policy , in sacrificing something for your loved one there is a special feeling of joy. You get in return what you give , I don’t expect anything but love and affection that is all , on the other hand from my side I am willing to give all my love to the person involved.”
“Love is a little bit of Heaven here on Earth. Love is next to God to me…. the person to whom I say this means everything to me, and my world revolves around him/her In love the question as to how much can be given or expected can never arise. Love to me is to give, give and give and when you give something it should not be measured in any terms. And when you have given so much you automatically get it back, but how much you get back you never know and again it should not be measured. This according to ME IS LOVE.”
“The word here is “mutual”… that’s what it is all about… how two minds and two souls work at tandem… in a seamless and synchronous way… freedom is an in-built attribute of this mutuality and the compromise has to come from both parties…. well, what percentage…? that’s debatable….. but I, personally, would go to any extent of compromise… because you are doing it for someone u love… and that’s where ultimate happiness is to be found… so, that I guess is the bottom-line… no cribbing, being reasonable and being practical… is the essence of a true relationship…”
“It is bigger than life itself. When I think of love, I think of my kid first. Nothing in the world is more pure than the feeling I feel for my child. Love is sharing. To me the phrase “I love you” does not mean much. To me love is the feeling…the bond that keeps you going. I definitely don’t get carried away when my husband says “I love you”. But I most definitely get carried away when I see the concern or the struggle to want the best for me and our kid. Why is it that we make up and move on in spite of a vicious fight???? That to me is love! The joy I feel inside my heart when my child gives me a hug or a kiss…which nobody really told it to do. That to me is love.”
“Love is a state of mind, it’s probably the most abstract thing I’ve come across…. for one thing, when you love someone, you want to be with them. Not just be with them, but share everything with them. You have a great day at work and want to rush home and tell them every wonderful thing that has happened. You feel excited at the prospect of just being in their company, just being close to them isn’t enough, and you want to be a part of them, a part of their life forever. You can’t stand the thought of being away from them, yet when you are, you still feel that ever-present bond that ties you together wherever you go. You can almost feel what they are feeling. With a little bit of effort, you can see what they are seeing and think what they are thinking. It is almost as if you both can occupy each other’s bodies with complete trust and harmony. That to me is love…. plain old love.”
“Love is natural & irrational but very important ……Love is a moment that lasts forever…Love is everything, it is that catalyst, that real essence in Life. When I say I love someone I mean that this person is the one whom I have embraced totally (emotionally, mentally physically…etc) When I love someone all my saved up wishes start coming out When someone says that they love me it makes me elated, proud and privileged because one thing I know is that true love is one of the rarest things on this planet. True Love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about but few have seen. It also makes me feel responsible that I owe it to that person because when someone says that they love me I hope what they mean is “I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I would love to give everything for true love and expect nothing in return because, If you have Love you don’t need to have anything else. If you don’t have it, doesn’t matter much what else you do have.”
“Love………. should be unconditional……what a mother has for a child, what a child gives to a mother. ..that’s love….. Well one form of love —which in my mind is the purest of all….. When I say I love someone I mean that….for the most part I expect the same for the most part, i.e., unconditional love……the question is whether we all keep our word in this so-called pragmatic world.”
“Love is a two-sided coin. It can strengthen or stifle, expand or enfeeble, perfect or pauperize. When love is returned we are taken to new heights unseen, where it delights, invigorated and beautifies. When love is spurned we feel crippled, disconsolate and bereaved. Love is belonging to someone unconditionally”
“Love is unconditional ie. when your partner is happy you are happy. You do everything in your might to see them happy. Love is all about sharing, caring, trust and freedom. Love is how you feel when you are with them or even when u think about them. Love is pure and devoid of social stigmas and negativity “
“When being selfless comes naturally. That is love:)”
“Love always comes with expectations. Only love without expectations is with children. In this relationship there is only give, give and give”
“I experience love when somebody goes an extra mile and turns an impossible issue possible. For eg if a person knows about my likes and dislikes and gives importance to my likes …..then tell others that this is what she likes and this is what she dislikes….. that concern for me is just because they love me”
“Love is something which no words can explain. Love can only be felt from within. The warmth of love can make anything possible. Love makes a persons dreams come true. In short love makes you to fall in love with yourself and everyone, everything around you”
“ Love is Love only when it is selfless …… It is very very rare to find. What a husband feels for a wife or what a wife feels for a husband is NOT love I feel because it is not selfless. There are expectations in return. Even what a lover feels towards his or her lover isn’t Love because again ….There are expectations in return.”
“The only true instance of Love ….I feel ….is the love felt by a mother or father towards their child . There is no parallel to that sort of Love. That Love is blind. It ignores all faults and shortcomings of the child and expects nothing in return. Love cannot get purer than that ….”
So everyone had different theories on love. But almost everyone found the question difficult to answer and agreed that ‘love’ was an important part of their life. Some had it, some didn’t. The ones who had it wanted more and ones who didn’t felt they were incomplete.
In my next part, I will address the different forms of love a person comes across in his or her journey through life.
(To be continued)