What is love? The age old question that people have been attempting to define for thousands of years in their own, twisted way. Love can be a great deal of things, and it’s difficult for me to even put it into some type of box in order to describe it.
Over the years, I’ve learned what love and loving someone and being in love with someone is and what it is not. But even then, I am sometimes confused about whether or not my feelings for certain people I thought I loved or was in love with and vice-versa, were actually genuine or were they something else?
Love isn’t unhealthy, it’s not possessive, it’s not manipulative or disrespectful, it’s not hurtful. Love isn’t selfish or one-sided. I do believe it exists. I also believe you can love all of the people in your life differently, but at the end of the day, true, unconditional love is acceptance of another human, flaws and all.
I truly believe love was best defined in The Bible, surprisingly enough. The Biblical definition comes from II Corinthians 13:4-13.
"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
To me, that is everything that “Love” is. Love is kind and patient. It isn’t jealous or braggadocios. It’s respectful and selfless. It is understanding and accepting. It doesn’t hold grudges. It is honest. It’s safe, comfortable, trusting and trustworthy. It doesn’t just give up at the first sign of issues. There is no doubt in love. Love is healthy. Love is maturity. Love is growth. Love is fulfilling. Love is everything.
But love, that is healthy, that is honest, that is genuine, is so difficult to find. It’s so difficult that it frightens me. Especially love that is reciprocated to both parties. There’s so many hurt, confused, and emotionally detached people in the world, that are so jaded and bitter that they do everything in their power to run away from love. Some people have never experienced love, from childhood to adulthood, so they don’t even know what it feels like to be loved in a healthy way. Others hardly know what it means to love themselves, let alone having to love other people. Then there’s the people afraid to be vulnerable enough to allow themselves to love and for others to love them. People afraid to love and be loved because of what an emotionally broken or confused person did to them beforehand. So many damaged souls, myself included.
I know love, I am love, and I want to love again and to be loved genuinely, in a healthy and fulfilling loving relationship. That may be the most difficult feat that I will ever have to take on, and I can honestly say that I’m a little scared to put myself out there to find what I deserve. But with every risk, comes a reward and I’m ready to take on that risk.