LOVE

One of the most complex topics ever known to mankind. LOVE! What is love? We all have our own idea of what love is. We’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives, whether we’ve given love or received love. Sometimes love has hurt us and at other times, it’s brought us moments of happiness. Here’s my belief about love; as humans, our innate desire is to love and be loved. There is no other purpose in our lives. That being said, love is complicated beyond measure and one blog post will not suffice. This is a continuously developing post and it has been hard to gather my thoughts on the subject. Experiences change our perspective on love so here are my thoughts on this topic thus far. 

I was the type of woman that believed in that forever kind of, unconditional love. The kind where no matter what happens, if two people want to make their love story work, they can. Everything was about that unconditional love finding me and consuming every part of me. But recently, I have been reflecting a lot on love. My thought process has changed on this. I see love differently now, and I can explain why. 

The first experience we have of love is through our primary caregivers. That for me is the unconditional kind of love, the love given by our family. No matter what happens, your family will always love you. But that can be complicated because I feel there is no right way to be loved, and people love according to what they think loving someone is, be it our family. For example, the way my mother loves me is different to how a friend’s mother loves her because their way of showing love would also be different. It is just who they are. I think our way to love is based on what we perceive love to be, rather than what it is actually is because no-one truly knows what love is, and that is what makes love subjective. You can’t explain love because it is different for us all. Even two people in a relationship with each other will describe and explain love differently. There is no right or wrong way to love either. Love is a personal thing. That is why people don’t always understand what other people’s love is like. Love only works when you meet someone who understands your perception of love and vice versa. Otherwise, the relationship is seen as disastrous when in reality, people should just accept that it is not the type of love they are seeking. 

Since a young age, I’ve been looking for that all-consuming, unconditional love. I have found it at various points in my life. It has been different with the men I loved once upon a time. Some love stories have hurt me, and others have destroyed me. Some even made me feel like I would never love again. No pain compares to that kind of pain. It is indescribable. I remember once when a man I really loved, left me and I cried myself to sleep but woke up in the morning and questioned whether what had happened was real and continued crying. The pain of heartache is hard to describe but it is almost like someone is squeezing your heart in their hand and you can feel the physical ache. You feel miserable. Sleeping is difficult and you often wake up in the middle of the night in a panic, your entire existence just hurting, amongst other things you experience. Yet, here I am. Still standing and still believe in love. It’s just, my perception of love is not what it once used to be.

As stated, love for me is subjective. We all have our own versions of it, and we love people differently. We learn to adjust the way we love someone depending on the kind of person we meet. Love isn’t a forever thing either. That is why we can fall in love with different people at different points of our lives. But the difference is, sometimes we commit to loving the same person for the rest of our lives. It doesn’t necessarily mean you love that person more. It’s just you were able to work through the difficult times through the commitment and are still together. It’s when your perception of love is being reciprocated. That’s where marriage comes in and for me is, that’s what marriage is. Marriage usually has a foundation of some form of love but then eventually, the thing that holds a marriage together isn’t just love. It is a bunch of feelings and emotions like compromise, compassion, trust, empathy, understanding, companionship, communication and so forth. 

Reflecting on love, anyone you speak to about love will tell you something different. Sometimes, people can confess their love soon after you meet them but isn’t love just a feeling or an emotion? A feeling or the emotion of love that we feel in those moments, hence feeling like we are in love? So then why is it that if someone confesses their love early on, we mark it as a red flag? You can mean it at that time because it is the person you are willing to give your love to. We give love in the way we see fit which links back to my point at the start, that our innate desire as humans is to love and be loved. I also think love is a feeling that can be nurtured and grows. For example, I loved a guy who had been courting me for over a year and this turned out to be my favourite love story. I know that love grows because I grew to love someone with whom I didn’t think was possible. I became attached to him. But does this mean it wasn’t really love? Isn’t attachment just a form of love? You learn to love people you didn’t think was possible. You end up loving people for different reasons in moments where they are a part of your life. My belief now is that whenever it hasn’t worked out, it is just because that person didn’t want to build with my version of love. 

At this point in my life, love isn’t about that all-consuming, unconditional kind of love I once thought it was. Love for me now is about feeling safe, secure, respected, trusted, and appreciated for being me. Yes, that is what most people believe a form of love to be but the criterion for love reduces the more you experience it in your life. We must appreciate that we won’t always be loved the way we want to be loved but we can choose to love the other person the way we want to be loved. And to be honest, that is what most people do. That is what we know love to be. We love according to our perception. For example, because I believe communication to be an integral part of a relationship, I am an excellent communicator and feel that someone who is open to that, would mean our love works. Another example is that because I like receiving affection, I openly give affection, again, meaning our love could work. This is based on my perception of love. I think this is where Gary Chapman’s 5 love languages come in too. We all have a primary love language that we prefer but I think that the preference isn’t just about receiving love according to that love language, but also giving love in that language as that is what we think love is, again, going back to our own perception of love. For example, spending quality time with someone I love means I feel loved too. I have also started to feel that love isn’t permanent unless you choose to make it permanent. Love for me is a choice. Love develops and changes as you progress through life and a relationship. People start by loving someone in a certain way and then, when the relationship progresses, the love changes. Maybe expectations have something to do with it because after all, you only ever have expectations from people who mean something to you. 

Now that I have experienced different kinds of love, I no longer look for love like I once used to. I look for companionship. I look for safety and protection. A caregiver. Someone who will give me the bare minimum things like respect and affection. Someone who will be a provider in the long run. This is because I feel I can grow to love a person who gives me all the things that are a requirement for me in a relationship. It is about understanding and being able to get on because I feel love grows the longer you spend with someone, and you have a mutual level of respect. Love to me is a commitment you make when you choose someone to love, especially when that love is reciprocated. Love is supposed to be calm. Love grows and develops in these circumstances.

Until next time, 

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x