Friday, January 29, 2016

What is love?

In honor of the upcoming “month of love,” February, I’ve been pondering the subject of love. While it’s no secret that some love Valentine’s Day, and some hate it (both with equal passion), I personally believe there’s nothing wrong with celebrating a month of love—be it love of family, friends, or a significant other. Yes, Valentine’s Day is typically celebrating romantic love—and I adore that notion—but our lives are spent surrounded by loved ones, all who deserve celebrating.

Hate all you want, but it's a special day! 

But, prior to the celebrating of love, I think it’s important to address just what love is. I’m not on groundbreaking subject matter, here. It’s a question that poets, songwriters, novelists and more have been exploring for centuries.

And, for those of us who have grown up in the millennial age, we have had a number of things thrust before our eye, painting the picture of love. We grew up on Disney movies, in which women sang to woodland creatures and got kissed in forests by strangers and lived “happily ever after.” That’s not real love (also, we should be kind of grateful it’s not. If you’ve never stood in a budgee cage of birds, do it, and you’ll realize it’s not that glamorous to be a Disney princess. Additionally, how weird would it be if some random dude came over and smacked a kiss on your lips in the woods or anywhere, really—especially if you were in Snow White or Sleeping Beauty’s shoes! That’s a lawsuit. That’s not love).

We’ve seen rom-com after rom-com, and we’ve heard every bit of love—tainted, tortured, blissful, forgotten, unrequited, forever, etc.—on the radio for all of our lives. We’ve heard of love, we’ve felt love, but what love truly is remains a debated concept. While I am a romantic at heart and one who genuinely enjoys sappy love songs, poetry, movies, and books, I also live in the real world—where love is a little different, thus why I feel this concept warrants a blog post.

As I sat down to write down all of my thoughts, I played through several of my favorite love songs. While “Bad Romance” wouldn’t quite suffice, I did find some gems on my iPod. In my search for the perfect love song, I’ve come across many that tell the story well, but I think many lose the full picture. Perhaps the most perfect illustration of love I’ve found is in a Celine Dion song, which albeit cheesy, is a great example of love.



However, my main issue with this song is that it only portrays one side of love.

“You were my strength when I was weak,
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak,
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see,
You saw the best there was in me,
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach,
You gave me faith ‘cause you believed…”
-Celine Dion “Because You Loved Me”

Definitely, those are all statements that ring true to me. In life, we all have moments when we need the strength of the one we love, we need their love to carry us through to the other side of whatever we may be facing. Yet, true love is the reciprocation of those instances.

Yes, you were my strength when I was weak—but you trusted me enough to be your strength when you were weak.

With the reciprocation and trust mixed in, this is perhaps, my most treasured song about love. Nonetheless, this is the love of luster—the type that is portrayed in music, film, literature, and the likes. This is not the everyday type of ordinary love that can make life so extraordinary.

Thus, in the search for “what is love,” we must look deeper beyond the lyrical perceptions of such a complex emotion. Certainly, Pink’s “True Love” gives us a real-life view, but I think it’s deeper than just that.

Here's this lovely picture, that has a lot of truth in it. 

I believe that every “I love you” says a little something different—whether it’s to a friend or a family member, and definitely to a significant other. I think it says a few of the following things:
  • When I have a bad day, I know you’ll comfort me—or just let me vent.
  • Likewise, when you have a bad day, I’ll do everything I can to lessen that burden.
  • When we both have bad days, we’ll support each other the best we can, and we’ll take the space we need to self-soothe.
  • When we have bad days together, I promise to remember why I love you.
  • When I have a good day, I want to share it with you.
  • When you have a good day, I’ll be your biggest cheerleader.
  • Thank you for being my encourager.
  • I’ll be proud of you for your accomplishments—both big and small.
  • Thank you for believing in my dreams and cheering me onto my goals.

  • I will sit through your stupid TV show with only a few snarky comments—and only play on Pinterest for half of the time, so if you want to recap with me afterward, I’ll at least know the names of the characters.
  • Thank you for doing the same for me (same goes with music choices).
  • I’ll celebrate those things that make you come alive, that are uniquely “you,” even if I can’t understand the depths of them.
  • I’m weird, and I know it. Thanks for celebrating who I am, though.
  • I’ll learn your love language, and I’ll do my best not to get upset when you show love differently than I do—or than I expect.
  • I will always attempt to see your weirdness or annoying habits as little quirks that make you tick, rather than as weaknesses.
  • Once again, I’m weird, and thank you for loving me, too!
  • I trust you—whether that’s with my personal well-being, my emotional well-being, plans for the day, or just with remembering my pizza order.
  • You trust me, too, and I’ll never break that.
  • You make my life a beautiful place—even in the ordinary of every day.
  • I want to make your life just as beautiful.
  • I’m thankful for you.
  • Let’s continue to laugh and live together. Let’s continue to encourage each other.

To me, that’s the meaning of love, and I look forward to celebrating all who I love—not only in February, but throughout my life.