What is Love?
written August 11, 2008
The answer: it depends.
It depends on the person saying it. It depends on the person hearing it. And it depends on the relationship between the two.
The English language, as sophisticated as it is, surprisingly has only one word for the very broad and complex notion of love. Man can love his dog, his wife, his mother, his father, his sister, his brother, his pizza, his God, his music, his high school sweet heart, and his best friend. But he loves each in its own unique way. Some love is romantic, some is altruistic, some is passionate, some is based on loyalty, some is nurturing, some is based in gratitude, and some is based in simple companionship. Then there are countless variations that can comprise of any combination of these types of love. Some are unconditional, and some are merely ostensible. Some are mature forms of love that have grown over time, and some are built on false pretenses. There is no one type of love, and often times we think we’re experiencing a certain kind of love when it’s something else all together. Not only that, but many people profess their love for each other without the understanding that the other’s reciprocation of that love may not be of the same type, on the same level, or to the same degree. To the detriment of all our relationsihps, we use the one word to express it all.
So when I said that love is on the same level of mythology as leprechauns, unicorns, and honest women with common sense here, it was based on my firm belief that no two people have the same definition of love. Nor do they accurately gauge the form of love they may be feeling. When two people try to share the version of love they think they’re experiencing with one another, they do it without considering these things, and it often fails. There are too many possible ways to define love relative to each person's unique experience, and the miscommunication that inevitably springs from that is the foundation of the differing expectations that break up so many couples. What do you think? firstname.lastname@example.org
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