What is love?
Throughout human history, this has been one of the most talked about definitions, from poets, philosophers, clergy, psychologists, coaches,and just plain folk. How can a word that is utilized so often in human society have so many definitions?
Just a cursory look through the Internet we find thousands of definitions. Here are just a few:
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
7. sexual intercourse; copulation.
8. a warm relationship with another individual or deity
Notice, that each of these definitions speak of the same word and yet have very different meanings.
In my work as a spiritual counselor I see that while many individuals seem to be seeking love, yet when asked to define it, have difficulty. We can see from above that it can be simply sex, or a “profoundly tender affection.”
I contend that all these definitions are great but are missing the cornerstone or root of love. Each of these are directed outward, what about “self-love”?
Go ahead, write your own definition of love. Find 4 keywords, that encompass love for you. Here is my own definition:
a. Knowledge = knowing everything I can about another individual, their feelings, strengths, weaknesses, and habits.
b. Wisdom = Being able to speak with another individual and the limits they
themselves have placed upon relationships.
c. Understanding = A knowingness of another person, being of like mind, acceptance.
d. Comfort = Being able to be in the presence of another without speaking, just being around them is OK.
To sum these up: To me, Love is a relationship.
Many individuals have difficulty with being able to demonstrate love. I contend that these individuals have an issue with SELF Love. If one does not love oneself, then one can not love another. Love of self is NOT narcissism, nor is it self deception, nor is it egocentricity. It is one of the most important characteristics of a healthy, well adjusted, (as self defined), life. In my course ”The Warrior Within,” we discuss the nature of the three bodies, Higher, Emotional/Logical, and Physical. When each of these bodies work in tandem in a cooperative manner they bring about a satisfied, content individual.
Furthermore, I contend that everyone already loves themselves, to some degree. Using the keywords above for the most part, satisfied, loving individuals can truthfully say that with respect to the four statements above, they are okay with themselves.
This is the root of everything, with regards to love. If an individual has difficulty loving themselves, then they are only deluding themselves that they love another, whether it is a Higher Power, another individual, or even nature.
Try an experiment, look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? If you see things you do not like, go ahead and commit to changing them. After all, you are in control of yourself, take the steps necessary. If you can not think of what they are, contact someone, (hmm, shameful plug here – me) and get the help you need to love yourself.
Once you love yourself, you can love another.
A word about sex. Sex can be the physical manifestation of love. In our current society, we have cheapened sex. The sexual/sensual relationship between individuals, whether they are same gendered or opposite gendered can be a beautiful manifestation of love. The “afterglow” of such sex can be one of the most beautiful things to experience.
Love itself is NOT just sex. After all, all the religions of the world say that LOVE is the root of relationship with the chosen deity. I do not think that the deity wants to have sex with each of its followers. A mother does not want to have sex with their child. Yet, there is LOVE.
Find your definition, love yourself, and you will find that your relationship with the Divine, yourself, and others more enriched and fulfilling than anything else in this world.