Love cannot be explained. It can only be experienced. Love cannot be explained, yet it explains all.
These lines were taken from Elif Shafak’s novel, ‘The Forty Rules of Love’ and they beautifully describe the complex yet simple phenomenon called love.
Love is one of the most commonly used words, yet when people are asked to explain what it really is, many people usually fall short. For people with pleasant experiences, love may be ecstasy, for those who experienced otherwise have bitter emotions attached to it.
Love is a blend of feelings and a state of mind. This feeling brings with it a roller coaster of emotions. For some, it can behave like a drug that helps them forget all the other worries in the world; for some, it is the sole driving force that keeps them moving.
Can we define love?
How a person chooses to describe love depends a lot on their personal experiences.
The meaning keeps varying with time and age. For a 5-year-old, love is the warmth of her dad’s embrace and the knowledge that her mom won’t let anything happen to her.
For a high school student, love is the tickling feeling inside his tummy when that girl walks through the door; for a woman in her early twenties, love is the coolness of her eyes; and for a man in his last years of life, love is found in things as little as the one extra cookie in the plate.
For me, love is when my mom wakes up early just to see if I am ready on time or not. It is out of love, that I lie down next to my father for a few more seconds of peace. I know it’s love that makes my brother spend money on fries for me while he himself has eaten nothing.
For me, love is what makes me rethink my choices so that I do what is best for my family. It is love that makes me want to become a better person. For me, love is also about never going to bed angry.
Love lies in the gestures as small as a sideways glance at an inside joke, and in things as big as canceling appointments just to spend quality time with me.
Is love always romantic?
Love doesn’t always have to be romantic.
Not everyone in the world is lucky enough to find the perfect partner that they love and who romantically loves them back. The love of a mother for her child is the most selfless example that exists worldwide.
The more people you meet, the more definitions of love you’ll come across. An interesting interpretation that I recently came across was that love is about ‘give and give’ and not ‘give and take’.
To explain this the person added that in love the partner should not think about what he or she is receiving from the other end. Instead, people should only focus on what they give each other selflessly.
However, such selflessness is often difficult to achieve, particularly in a romantic relationship and that is why love brings with it a lot of pain too. Perhaps, this explains why people find love to be scary.
Love and vulnerability
Every time we love someone, we unintentionally give that person the permission to play with our emotions.
Hence, it won’t be entirely wrong to say that love makes people vulnerable.
It makes people behave in unusual ways. It is out of love that people are willing to compromise on issues by putting their ego aside. Despite the complexities that entail love, it is something many people spend their entire lives searching for.
This indescribable term that we run after, brings with it a mixture of emotions. It can melt the hardest of hearts and that is why we need more of it in the world.
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