Every young lover, and perhaps a great many old lovers, ask these questions. I’ve asked myself these questions, and many more, many times. I have given them a lot of thought. And I have found some answers. These answers may vary from person to person, I can’t really say, although I believe that they must; I would say it’s probably up to every lover to answer these questions for themselves.
I want to make that very clear: In the test of Love you can’t copy someone else’s answers. This is only what I personally, through experience, have discovered for myself, and I’m still learning.
But from one man in Love to another person in Love, I hope I can still give you something that will be helpful to you, and will in some way, make you think.
What Is Love?
In my case, I find that Love involves a desire for companionship, an innate curiosity, a thirst for understanding, a concern for her well being, vain attempts to comprehend her, a need, a striving for self-improvement, a fear of loss, a fear of Love unreciprocated, an intangible euphoria, and a complete and utter ignorance, among other things. Any of this sound familiar to you? Love is a great many things, isn’t it?
Love’s a lot like life, and both are chimeras full of variations and paradoxes. If you really want to grasp Love fully, you better give up now. It’s impossible. Love isn’t a science, it’s not an art; I don’t even know exactly what it is. It can’t be grasped.
It’s not just an emotion, either. As you can see from my little list up there, I hardly even mentioned emotion among all the things Love is to me. Love moves the emotions, but it is not, itself, an emotion.
Another thing about Love, it’s usually pretty unconditional, isn’t it? Usually, it’s hard to explain. I always say that to really Love someone, you Love them and don’t really care why . . . but somewhere, deep inside, you know exactly why.
Love is mystery, misery, and generally a lot of heartache, too. Love is . . . gosh, Love is a wonderful, beautiful thing, isn’t it?
Wait, I’ve got it. I know what it is. Love is one soul put into two bodies.
Where Do I Get It?
I’m going to be blunt here. Love doesn’t come out of sex or desire. Love isn’t lust. Too many people don’t understand that.
Above all else, Love is not physical. It’s something transcendental. It’s not really impressible by anything material, be it what its object looks like or how its object acts. Often enough we Love no matter how the one we Love looks or acts. At times Love can feel “stronger” than at others; it can be stronger when you see your beloved smiling, or when you haven’t spoken to her in forever, or when he compares your eyes to stars. It can be “weaker” when your beloved offends you or hurts you, or when your beloved seems apathetic. But I propose that all of these emotions, whether positive or negative, are just Love in its many different forms, that is, the emotions are born of Love, but there is no one emotion that is definitively Love itself. Love is, or at least can be, every emotion, good or bad.
Emotion comes from Love. So where does Love come from? Here’s what I think.
I think Love comes simultaneously from within and without. And I don’t mean the more Love you receive the more you Love; I think being Loved is a positive emotion, but I’m not sure how strong an effect it has on Love itself. The more you Love you receive the more Love you give? Maybe. But Love can be withheld and still be there.
I think Love comes from within, looking down into your own soul; and I think it comes from without, seeing someone else’s soul, and I mean truly seeing not just what they are and the way they act, but who they are, and to understand that, without consciously comprehending, at least not very well. . . . Does that make sense? No? Good. I think you’re getting it.
How Do I Know?
Well, the classic truth is, “When you find the one, you’ll know.” And I think that’s generally true. When Love is true, you’ll know.
But what if you’re doubting? What if you feel like you know but you’re not really convinced? Love, like religion or any other sort of belief or conviction, can be doubted. But just because you doubt, doesn’t mean it’s not real. That’s just anxiety.
So how do you know you’re in Love? What are some of the symptoms? If you’re asking that, you’re already looking at Love from the wrong angle; it’s not an ilness, it’s a cure. But there are . . . side affects, for sure.
For one, when you’re in Love, you generally feel pretty confused, and it’s hard to think straight, especially when what you’re thinking about involves the one you Love in any way. And if you’re really in Love, almost everything somehow becomes connected, in your mind, to that one person. I guess it’s your soul trying to merge every aspect of your life with the other half of your soul.
Another probable sign is that you do a lot of stupid things. One kind of stupid thing is a dangerous or otherwise foolish act done to impress. Another kind of stupid thing is saying or doing everything wrong when you’re with, near, or thinking of, the one you Love. Love generally increases both courage and fear, both of which in excess can make you do pretty stupid stuff. Love makes you fearless and yet oh so cowardly.
And as I said before, Love is generally accompanied by a myriad of emotions; which of all things that could vary from person to person, would be the surest. The most common, though, are happiness and misery, benevolence and need, hope and despair, pity and anger, and courage and fear. I guess even hate is another form of Love, just a really, really negative form of Love.
So, you know, someone hates you? Feel better. It’s only because they Love you. Honestly, what you should be most afraid of is complete apathy.
And Love, as I said, is full of doubts. Really, I think that’s actually a more common side affect of Love, at least early on, than confidence.
All in all, if you feel drunk but haven’t been drinking lately, could be you’re in Love.
Similarly, when you’re drunk, pain is dulled, right? Well, when you’re in Love, nothing really hurts, because Love heals. It’s a cure, like I said. Love aches, it aches so much it can break your heart . . . but it never hurts.
What Do I Do with It?
Ah, that’s one of the most important questions, isn’t it? What do you do when you’re in Love? How do you Love?
As an impractical man and a failed lover, I’m hardly an authority. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that what you do with Love is much more important than I ever thought it was. I used to think just Loving someone was enough. Sure, in fairy tales. Unfortunately, in the real world, life becomes a factor, and it tends to get in the way.
For a moment, as an example, let’s talk about the one I Love. I’ll try not to bore you with how sweet and godly she is, or by telling you what she means to me and how every gesture and move that she makes transports me to paradise, and of course I could, but won’t, go on for days about how her smile is like the sun through the clouds, or how her wit is flawless, or how she makes qualities out of her flaws, or how few bounds (which I could name) her wisdom knows. I won’t explain in detail how she amazes me, how blessed I feel, how simply put I Love her in so many ways. I could do all of that, but it’s a little beside the point right now, isn’t it?
My point is, heck, I have no idea why she should possibly Love me. Seems incredible. But somehow, she does. Strangest thing in the world. Meanwhile, I have every reason in the world to Love her; but the strange thing is, and I think this is true for men in general, my Love is unconditional. If a woman treats a man cruelly, he tends not to react, at least not at first, but continues Loving anyway. I know, because I’ve been in that situation myself in the past. Often a man will Love no matter how he’s treated.
Whereas, in a woman’s case, I’ve often heard that a woman’s Love is responsive, which may be true. If you act like a jerk to her, she probably won’t Love you, or she’ll stop Loving you pretty quick. If you act like a perfect gentleman and treat her like a queen, over time you might sway her into Loving you, or she might just hate you even more because you can’t take a hint.
Could go either way, because the fact is, you can’t force anyone to Love you. You just have to stalk them and hope for the best. (Don’t take me seriously. Please don’t stalk anyone. Yields very, very undesirable results.)
Now, I’m not a big believer in “just be yourself.” Why shouldn’t I be willing to improve myself for the woman I Love? I am, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the fact is, and this is true for both sexes, Love can’t be provoked. Love a person with your whole heart, and instead of trying to force them to Love you, show your Love in your way, and show it honestly. If they really Love you, it’ll work.
But take careful note of my choice of words: show your Love. As cliched as it sounds, Love is a verb, not a noun. You have to show it.
So, yes . . . Love isn’t perfect, Love is impractical, Love is hard. Love isn’t easy. But when two people are truly in Love . . . they find a way to make it all work, because they couldn’t do anything else.
Most important . . . Love never gives up. Love never stops. Love never dies.
But just remember . . . Love is a verb, and ungrammatical though it may seem, the subject must put the object before itself. It is not that “A Loves B,” no, “B is Loved by A.” That’s how Love works. By giving everything its got.