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What is love?

In the midst of a discussion about love and what it means and how it manifests, centred around expectations of and surviving teenage behaviour, it struck me that love is defined by each individual in their own way and so many things shadow and influence the individiual definition of love.  

It was pointed out to me that love appears to involve sacrifice.  I was told this was unhealthy, and in some ways that is true.  But it got me thinking.

For me love is about loving someone ANYWAY>  One doesn;t stop loving or treating someone well because they misbehave or make poor choices.  Love is a gift.    And tell me, which of us doesn;t want to be loved in that way?  

Love is when someone else’s happiness means more to you than your own.  They feel the same way and that is why it works.  You give to them, t0 see them happy and they give to you – for that reason.  Yes, Please JUST call me Pollyanna.  I know the flaws are that we are all human.  I know, for example, I have been involved in far too many relationships where I give and the other person takes – one version of give and take but not ideal.  See in that scenario, an imbalance develops and resentment develops.  Not pretty.  

I am also well aware of the fact that the majority of my adult life has been as a mother where someone ( or a group of someone’s) very survival rested on my sacrifice in many instances.  And I counted it as nothing.  With children you know eventually they will “get it” but they like a good wicket and will take with the best of them.  After all – they are so important and the center of the known universe – aren’t they??

I got thinking about all of this simply because I am currently reordering my priorities and I have moved what I want higher up the list.  I am seeking balance.  I matter.

What is love to you, for you?

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5 comments on “What is love?

  1. Abe, sorry isn’t that when you give them their pocket money?

    But in my mind love is unconditional, well as long as ‘extra special bonus sex’ is on offer!!!!

  2. Love is the look on my kids’ face when they race to the front door to greet me when I get home from work.

  3. Interesting and complex topic for a blog entry, that just happens to coincide with a philosophical internet discussion on “What is Love?” that some friends and I are participating in presently, hosted by the Socratic Society of UNSW.

    What is love?

    I am glad that someone like Tim, so ably and concisely elucidated the nature of the relationship between emotions like love and its antithesis jealousy, and evolution.

    There is a book by Robert Wright called ‘The Moral Animal’ that is an eye-opening introduction to the emerging field of evolutionary pyschology. I urge people to read it, if they haven’t already. I can recall how reading it as a young fellow, kind of destroyed the magic of love for me. Its motivation and ends being so practically related to evolutionary concerns of survival. Love’s pleasures and delights became for me coercing influences.

    When so convinced, the mystic shroud of uncertainty, the butterflies of curiosity, and the cohesive delight of shared first discovery have no place.

    Being a serious young man, I began to try to place myself above what I saw as base animal instincts and influences. I thought it distasteful for so many of my fellow beings to be duped by what I saw as the fakeness and irrationality of emotions. And I believed that perhaps the road to enlightenment and reason, lay in denying the human self access to such self-delusions. What a scant and desert place, it was, I tell you.

    Now thinking back, I, like too many others, was confused about the nature and scope of the use of the term ‘love’. I conceived of it as something narrowly limited to human inter-relationships.

    Though I think it impossible to completely and successfully argue against any assertion of the indefinablity of the term, if only because of the fact of the uniqueness of each experience, perception and interpretation of it.

    I am certain that the difficulties that come when trying to put into words a generalised definition of love, are part of the essence and nature of love itself.

    How often, have you found it difficult to express to a partner or friend the magic of their company and intercourse? How often has such a situation been ruined or tainted by trying to give it words?

    I think the great writer and philosophers of old Plato, writing thousands of years ago, has come the closest to giving us glimpses of the archetypical nature of love. The Greek’s conception of truth, justice and the good, offer an insight into love that coincides with the situational difficulty of putting love and its contexts into words. What is good, true and just, being that which is uniquely and perfectly suited to each situation. Everything in its place, everything fulfilling a unique and specific function as part of something greater.

    In my personal relationships, all too often, the extent and depth of my feelings for another has been measured by the willingness and frequency of actions like saying ‘I love you’ or like other. In response, I am always reminded of Plato and the Platonic concept of love, as those fleeting relational moments when everything is in its place and as it should be, and when words cant be used and shouldn’t suffice to describe them.

    Such a depiction of love encompasses moments of human relation, such as a look, a shoulder squeeze, synchronized laughing, the sereneness of shared silence, etc… But goes further, being able to encompass moments and their sensations like the thrill of suddenly and solidly understanding a long sought after problem, the joy of carving the face of a cresting wave, the satisfaction of a arduous job well done, and the meditative peacefulness of a sinking sunset.

    There is another sense of love that ensues, following logically from a purely Platonic conception, that being the one espoused by religious figures since time immemorial, that one is part of something bigger and more important than oneself. In communion and synchronicity with the most perfectly ordered and balanced system of life.

    What blessed and blissful relief and peace derives from this discovery? Surely an understanding and appreciation of the principle of the unity and one-ness of all things, and a purposeful participation within it approaches the essence of love.

  4. Love is holding your baby in your arms when they fall and hurt themselves.
    Love is making them do their homework and then letting them splash you and hang on you in the pool.

  5. Love to me was Shane Warne waiting until the MCG to strike and take his 700th Test wicket – so that a hundred thousand of his adoring acolytes would be there to share in one of Australia’s most significant cultural & sporting achievements

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