What is love? …baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more….
Haddaway was on to something when he sang the mega dance floor filler ‘What Is Love?’ back in the 90s. But I still find myself asking this question now. As I chew on my pen. And stare at this computer screen. Blank.
There are a million ways you can define love. Love can be a feeling, a chemical reaction, a gift or a torture weapon.
It can be romantic or filial, conditional or unconditional.
The ancient Greeks had a roster of words for love: agape, eros, ludus, pragma, philautia, philia, storge… each describing a different state. I can just imagine them now, little mystical hobbit-like carnations frolicking on Mount Olympus causing mischief, pushing and shoving to see who can get the most attention.
Back in reality, I slurp on my coffee and rub my chin thoughtfully. Hmmmmm.
What are the most basic qualities that define love in its purest form?
I mean, when you look at your most treasured relationships, what are the common denominators that anchor these connections?
And that’s when I came up with SSF. Nope, not Shakespeare Schools Festival. Not the Society of Saint Francis. Not Stainless Steel Fasteners.
I’m talkin’ about Surrendering, Sacrifice and Friendship: three principles of love.
Love is Surrendering
Surrendering your emotions. Letting someone into your heart. Being vulnerable.
When you love someone – whether it be your partner, your child, your friend, your pet hamster – it involves a level of vulnerability. And because surrendering your ego and letting your walls down to love someone isn’t easy, this act of surrendering to love is nothing short of courageous.
Love is Sacrifice
When you care about someone you make sacrifices for them. You just do, okay – unless you are super selfish or you’re dating some kind of doormat.
Who said authentic love was easy, huh? Even if the person you love doesn’t know you are doing it, sacrificing your time, energy and even opportunities is often a prime symptom of deep, real, bonafide love. We see this in the behaviour of parents all the time, in the sacrifices they make for their children.
The other day someone told me:
‘Sometimes there will be times where you must decrease in order for someone else to increase’.
What does this mean? This means sometimes you step back and support. Sometimes you give a little more than you get. You make sacrifices because you want to, because you understand that both people in a relationship need room to shine. B-e-a-utiful!
Love is Friendship
Friendship encompasses trust, companionship, loyalty and JOY.
Over the past few years I discovered that Friendship isn’t Love’s best-friend or side-kick. It doesn’t play the supporting role, instead it is at the core, the foundation, nucleus from where some of your most significant relationships grow.
Sometimes we can’t help who we love. Love isn’t always reciprocal. And let’s keep it real: you don’t always have to even like the people you love.
Your sibling might drive you nuts, you might want to murder your other half sometimes, your mother might push you to the edge, but you know deep down you will love the bastards regardless of what they do. Even if it means putting some boundaries in place to protect yourself.
These three qualities might not be mutually exclusive. Neither must they directly equate to love. But they are the first steps on the road to love. And like most journeys they start with you.
Have a great week peeps!
If you enjoyed this article, why not check out ‘After all, Love is Love‘?