Defining Love is one thing; LIVING it is quite another. Discerning between authentic love and fear disguised as love can make all the difference.
Love, Love, Love…. It’s so very hard, hard, HARD to define!
Even the official dictionary at Merriam Webster’s Online doesn’t (in my humble opinion) do a very grand job of it…. I get it though. In their attempt at simplifying such an inherently complicated and multi-dimensional concept, I kind of feel that it misses the point completely. Here’s how that rolls out:
- 1a(1): strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child>(2): attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers(3): affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>b: an assurance of affection <give her my love>
2. warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>
3a: the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration <baseball was his first love>b(1): a beloved person :darling — often used as a term of endearment (2)British — used as an informal term of address
4a: unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1): the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2): brotherly concern for others b: a person’s adoration of God
5: a god or personification of love
6: an amorous episode :love affair
7: the sexual embrace :copulation
Blah blah blah…. right? ZERO feeling in that there description, my friends. Nada.
And if you’ve ever been to a Christian wedding (like — ever) you’ve undoubtedly heard the biblical definition of love… which actually gets to the heart of it quite a bit better. But I think we hear it so often (and forget so easily — too often giving way to fear instead) that we don’t actually take the words & their meaning IN — fully. In case you’re unfamiliar, or need a refresher (be sure and take it in!!) — here is that verse, compliments of biblehub.com:
1If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres….
I’m kind of a fan of how these biblical verses describe what love is NOT.… To that end, let’s continue to clarify it a bit further with more about what TRUE, PURE love is, indeed, NOT about…
- Those who truly love another will not look for ways to belittle them, find them in the wrong, ridicule or otherwise diminish their value… Love will not keep you ‘small’.
- Love will not tolerate a wall being built between one another out of fear & a need for self-protection, preventing them from really, truly knowing the other person. *Important Reminder: There is a distinct difference between ‘walls’ being (often unwittingly) put up between people who truly love one another, and healthy boundaries with those who practice toxic & twisted versions of love.
- Love doesn’t bank on someone’s shortcomings to help another cope with their own.
- Love will not manipulate or strangulate someone, or otherwise force coercion.
- Love refuses to step on others to get ahead.
- Love cannot be bought with gifts, promises, or other agreements.
- Love is not based upon what you can do/ provide/ offer another.
- Love is not ownership of another.
- Love doesn’t seek to harm another.
- Love is not based upon how much you agree with one another. (Wow, there’d be no love in that case!)
- Love isn’t based on your needs being met externally by another.
- Love is definitely NOT a guilt-trip.
- Love won’t seek to place blame.
- Love doesn’t place “shoulds” all over anyone.
- Love is not blind to reality; it is just ever-evolving and resilient.
- Love does not feel the need to compete. (Healthy & good-spirited competition for fun aside…)
- Love does not judge.
- Love is not defensive.
- Love will not lie.
Now, in addition to the verses mentioned above, let’s elaborate some more on what genuine love really IS all about….
- Love looks for ways to lift another up.
- Love sees through & past our human faults.
- Love is acceptance.
- Love is supportive.
- Love is compassionate.
- Love honors the soul of another.
- Love delights in the joy of another.
- Love believes in the infinite possibility & pure potentiality of others & the Universe.
- Love realizes that it isn’t personal.
- Love understands that we are not actually separate, and sees others as an extension of the same energy.
- Love is open to a multitude of ideals.
- Love is willing to see the spirit buried beneath the fear, the behavior, the mistakes, and separate them from the person.
- Love is respectful.
- Love is peaceful.
- Love is devoted.
- Love is honest.
- Love is bold.
- Love is confident (without being OVER confident)
- Love is vulnerable, and yet both soft & strong…..
- Love is limitless & free!
- Love is JOYFUL!
- Love seeks the good in all things.
- Love is authentic.
- Love forgives.
- Love begins and stems from within; we have to love ourselves first in order to truly give of our hearts and share PURE love with another.
There is a lot that goes into defining love. Given the many variables at play, it’s even more challenging to actually LIVE it. Defining it? That’s just putting it into words. When it comes to love, action is much more relevant. Our actions will outperform our words any day.
I’ve often come across very twisted and impure versions of love, where people mistake martyrdom or other supposed ‘assurances’ of love under a false sense of security (re-visit list of what love is NOT, above.) We all succumb to practicing fear-based reactions and approaches to love, often times without even realizing it. But, we can take a step back, learn, and grow from it — and do our part to make it better. We can strive to consciously spread REAL, lasting, authentic love — by remaining true to our selves and sharing our light with the world. We can overcome fear with love; they cannot share the same space. After all, love always perseveres; love never fails.
If you feel you have to defend yourself, who you are, or your intentions — that isn’t love. It’s not love if the person on the other end isn’t open to perceiving you or your intentions in a loving way. And it isn’t self-love to be caught up in the possibility that someone may not see your intentions for what they are — concerned about what others may ‘think’. All you can do — is continue to be you! SHINE — brightly — and share your light & love — with those who are unafraid, and open to receiving it!
Regardless of what type of love we’re referring to — be it amorous, or the kind of love we feel for our children — we can all use reminders about facilitating & proliferating REAL, PURE love, any time of year. I challenge you to take a good look in the mirror, and really see yourself. As you do — assess how you might be actually causing harm under the guise of ‘love’, without even realizing it. Consider how you can recognize it for what it really is (fear), and transmute that fear to love. Be honest with yourself (and those you love), and watch as your heart grows ‘three times its size’ when you take action to TRULY & PURELY love your loves! (A little Grinch reference & reflection for you… ENJOY.) Can you FEEL that (genuine) love?!?
Originally published at thevitalitylounge.com on November 30, 2016.
Originally published at medium.com