What is love? What does it mean? Today many people misuse and misunderstand the meaning of love. It is a word that is thrown around and has little to no meaning for some people anymore. Love is a powerful word that harnesses so much emotion that most people
have never even felt before. Love is like a big warm blanket that we can always run and snuggle up in without any regret of what we have done. It doesn’t reject us, but loves us for who we are and doesn’t keep a toll for our wrong doings. Like everything in this world, it is two sided; has both its benefits and fallbacks. The true meaning of love is so defined that it seems almost impossible to meet and really truly love someone. The generation of today has forgotten the true meaning of love.
To start out, we need to define what this word is in our culture today. According to the fourth edition of the Webster’s New World College Dictionary, love is, “a deep and tender feeling of affection for an attachment or devotion to a person… a strong liking for or interest in something… sexual passion, sexual intercourse” (850). So in our own world of today, we see love as an attachment, an interest, or the act of sex. For some it’s all of the above, but what about those who just see it as one of these? There are different definitions within the dictionary for different cases, so is love the same thing? No. Our world is so corrupt in its thinking that we can’t even come up with a simple definition for something that as human beings, feel so passionately about. We are so confused that we give different cases, or situations that the word can be, not is, what we are saying. And we wonder why we don’t understand certain things anymore.
Love is not a hard thing to define. If one were to take family for an example, what is love in this case? Love here is forever, not easy, forgiving, trusting, faithful, support, helpful, selfless, tests ones patients, and confusing at times. What other relationships sound like this in our world today? In the people spectrum, how about friends and neighbors and role models. If we really take the time to think about it, by this list of what love is, we can say that we have a love for music, or sports, or pets. It is when people add in what love is accepted as that we start to loose sight of the true meaning.
So if we know what love is, than what is it not? There are a lot of things that love is not. Love is not an attraction or stimulate like the hot girl or guy you see walking down the street that you get the “hots” for. Love is not sex or a synonym for sex as our world conceives it today. It is not unkempt promises that husbands give to wives and vice a versa. It is not forced, no one can tell you whom you love or are supposed to love. Lastly, love is not easily angered. To have love for someone or something, one must have patience. You cannot love something and be angry at it all the time. This goes with every aspect of ones life. Take music for example; if one is angered easily by the difficulty of music, than why put oneself through agony and despair when all it does is frustrate. The things that we love as humans, we know because no matter what obstacles come in our way we will do everything in our power to make sure that is living and well. Love is our motion of purpose in a lot of cases in our life.
By love being somewhat of a driving force, love is more than just an emotion. In a quest to find out what others felt about love as an emotion, a discussion broke out with my roommate Jacob Montague. “Love is not an emotion,” he stated. “It is an action. You can say that you love your mom, but do you really love her if you never do what she asks of you?” This also goes with the saying, “actions speak louder than words.” There are people in this world who have a very hard time expressing they way they feel to people. So it is the little things in life that really mean a lot to them and allow them to express how they really feel. Walking up and giving hugs, holding hands, kissing, or things not as physical: opening doors, helping with assignments, trusting others with responsibility, or leaving little notes of encouragement to someone in their mailbox. Love is as much as an action as it is an emotion.
But what really is the definition of love? How can one pick an absolute definition? If one were to look in the worlds best selling book, The Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 says:
If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong of a clanging cymbal. If 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers.
What powerful words of wisdom. Even though this is the Christian definition of the love given by God, who can argue with these points? This is a very high standard for someone to live up to, but the rewards of this kind of love are gratifying beyond your most desirable dreams. In this case of love, love is like a big warm blanket that we can always run and snuggle up in without any regret of what we have done. It doesn’t reject us, but loves us for who we are and doesn’t keep a toll for our wrong doings. To love someone in this sense, how could one ever fight or be unsatisfied with someone? We are all human beings and are prone to make mistakes. If one doesn’t believe in sin, they believe in good and evil and wrongdoings. And by truly loving someone in this sense and not keeping a record of them, and truly being able to forgive them in any circumstance, there wouldn’t be this nonsense of 40-50 percent of all marriages ending up in a divorce according to divorcerate.org, and the rate only gets worse for following marriages after a divorce.
But now the question is what is the difference between this kind of love and true meaning of love. The love that we have for our spouses, versus our family, versus friends and everything we feel passionately about. Is there a difference? There is a difference in the emotions felt for different people, just as there are different actions that are expressed to show one’s love. For friends, the love is based on respect and trusting of opinions and value systems. These are the people we like to show our love through giving them our time. The love towards family is based on support, and forgiveness and trusting of opinions as well. We show them love through support, always being there for them, the time given, and the opinions that are given as a guide through life. For love towards objects and passions such as sports and music is the self-gratification that is received from the accomplishments that are gained from each. But although each of these are all different with how they are expressed, they all have the same
Once our generation realizes what love truly is, and not just a lustful attraction, our world as a whole will become a better place. When people can start to love others rather than just themselves, forgive others for their wrong doings, and accept people for who they are then we won’t have problems such as war and terrorism. Love is the passion to forgive under any circumstance, the grace to forget all wrong doings, the sacrifice of oneself for another, and the ability to be kind in the face of utter devastation and remorse. Can people achieve this love? The answer is yes, but the desire to have it, use it, and become a part of it is up to every individual to make that choice.