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Love?

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By Jennifer Forgaciu | 

According to dictionary.com, love is “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person” or “sexual passion or desire.” I disagree with both of these definitions. Yes, to some extent, love is an intense feeling and it can be romantic–but it’s much more than that. True love is not a mere feeling or romantic connection. What’s just been described is attraction, however strong it may be. To truly love someone is to accept them for who they are, as they are, which is why some would say love doesn’t exist. The idea of being so open with any one person seems unthinkable. However, the previously mentioned definitions make love seem more believable. After all, many people become extremely attached to another person in their lives, but is that love? People are often afraid to admit love for someone else–whether that be a girlfriend / boyfriend, family member, or friend. But why? Because it implies a commitment to that person. It implies that you’re willing to make sacrifices for them. It implies that they matter to you. So it’s completely understandable for someone to doubt the existence of love. It’s simply complicated.

Maybe you feel that love’s presence has eluded you, which is why you’ve ruled out any possibilities of its existence. Well, the only way to experience love is to let yourself be loved. You should not limit yourself with the belief that you are beyond love. By distancing yourself from others, you have predetermined that you are “unreachable.” If you’ve never allowed yourself to even consider the possibility, you may just miss your chance. Fear will keep you locked in its grip of unbelief–if you let it.

The best way to prove something is true is to look for evidence. If you look around, you can see the effects of true love. The fact remains that everyone comes from a different background, which may or may not provide the best examples of love. Things like abuse, heartbreak, and broken families could easily cast a shadow on one’s perception of love. Those who have not been exposed to true love aren’t inclined to believe it exists. On the other hand, some are exposed to it continuously: they’ve grown up witnessing successful relationships, healthy marriages, and have had positive experiences with love themselves. The key is trying to understand people from both sides of the spectrum, however difficult it may seem.

Regardless of your background, you can find proof of love if you look carefully. Look and you’ll see the old, married couple strolling down the street together. True love is the only reason their marriage has survived that long. At that point they’ve seen it all–the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, and they’ve accepted that all of those things are part of who they are. Or maybe you’ve seen the young mother working tirelessly to feed, change, and clothe her baby. Despite the exhaustion from those long days and even longer nights, she still smiles as she watches the child grow, as they learn to walk, as they utter their first words. And perhaps one of the most common examples: the disapproving father, warning his daughter to steer clear of that stupid boy. All of these relationships reveal a love for the other person. They’ve done what they thought necessary for the person(s) they care about. These are but a few of the many examples of love. Whether it’s between family members, friends, or couples, there is proof that testifies to its existence.  The one important thing to remember is that, while there are different kinds of love (i.e. friendly, familial, or “romantic”) there is only one way to love: unconditionally. Despite the struggles you will encounter in your relationships, you must realize that love based on performance, possessions, looks, or any other superficial basis, is not love at all. True love is choosing to accept the strengths and the weaknesses, the outer appearance and the inner struggle, the good and the bad. To truly love someone is to look beyond the surface.

So if you’re ever in doubt, just look around you. There is proof. The question is, are you willing to look for it? What’s stopping you? Perhaps it’s the fear of being hurt. Allow me to remind you that you don’t have to look for trouble for it to come knocking on your door. You can’t possibly expect that isolation, mistrust, or a simple refusal to let anyone in will protect you. In an attempt to prevent others from hurting you, you are hurting yourself. Maybe it’s more than a fear–you’ve already been hurt too many times, and you’re not going there again. You must realize that those few (or many) people that have hurt you do not speak for or represent everyone. Don’t let their actions keep you from searching for those who truly care, because–believe it or not–such people exist! Allowing those jerks to ruin your perception of others is to accept defeat. That’s exactly what they want, and you’ve handed it to them on a plate.

A third reason you may be unwilling to look for love is because you feel that the mere idea of true love (i.e. “romantic love”) is unrealistic and that you’d be a fool to fall for it. Allow me to debunk this myth. If it’s society’s portrayal of love that’s produced this idea in your mind, then I must say I fully agree with you. According to the media, love demands unreachable expectations: you must be flawlessly attractive and have the off-chance of meeting a person of equal qualifications. Perfect. Match made in heaven, right? No. Love isn’t perfection. Love isn’t attraction. And, contrary to popular belief, love isn’t sex. If you’ve accepted these unrealistic and superficial standards as the definition of love, then no wonder you believe it’s a lie. True love isn’t based on appearance or talent or physical attraction. True love has strong roots. It transcends the superficial–which is why it lasts. I may have just strengthened your disbelief in love, but, regardless, I’m glad I had the chance to present my case to you all.

So, what do you think? Does love, with its seemingly elusive nature, exist? That’s up to you to decide for yourself. But maybe you’ve been looking in the wrong places, for the wrong people. It’s simply complicated.

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