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What is Love?

… Baby, don’t hurt me…

Is there any question asked as often as ”What is Love”? Most of us spend all our lives trying to figure it out. We try to find it, often without knowing exactly what it is; what we are looking for. Still, we continue the search. If one finds it, can s/he then tell us, what it is? If s/he could, then the answer would have been known for millenniums by now.

There are a massive amount of books written on the subject. Romantic love, love for family, love for friends. Broken hearts, hope that won’t die, tears of happiness. They are all connected to love.

They met under the bridge, her eyes shone as bright as the stars. As their lips touched for the first time, she knew – this was it. She had finally found it: Love. It was hers.

As she watched her lover leave, she went numb inside. There goes my love. There goes my life, my happiness, my reason to be. She raged and cried and her heart broke in a zillion pieces. How could this happen?

She stood once again under the bridge where they had met that day a couple of years ago. There were no tears in her eyes no more. She felt nothing. An icy wind was blowing, but she did not care. Love is not for me, she thought. There is no such thing as love! She looked at the spot where she had once stood, naïve and hopeful, dreaming of the future. Contempt for herself filled her heart. Love is for fools!

How will the story continue? Will she harden her heart, never to go look for love again? Will she meet someone who’ll break through the barriers she’s built? There are many stories about both endings and of some others too. The versions seem to be unending.

What is Love?

Why do we need it? Why do we want it? Why, if it is so essential for our well being, have we not figured it out centuries ago? Why is it not something we all have?

Why might we lose it, if we find it? Does that mean we never had it in the first place, or did it just…? Go away? Disappear? Change?
Love is not something tangible. We cannot say “THIS is what love is.” Even if we have love, we cannot tell another what love will be for them.

Why does love then hurt? Love hurts when we lose it, love hurts when we do not have it, love hurts when we see it but cannot reach it. Sometimes love even hurts when we have it.

At times it seems like love is the same as hurting.

Even if love hurts us, we keep looking for it though. We dream of it, we want it, we feel like we are not complete without it. Even if we shut the door to love, somehow it still seems to affect us. Without love, we become hard and cold and unfeeling. All the other emotions seem to be connected to love, somehow.

Love for parents, love for a child, sibling and so on, they are, many times, taken for granted. Even when you fight, family is still family. Loving family is a duty to many. Love for family can be twisted in many ways. Love for family, or the absence of it, can twist you in ways no one even wants to imagine. Love for family can be deadly – but so can all kinds of love.

Love between friends seems to be the safest one. You are not born with friends, as you are with family. Instead, you choose them, and they choose you. It is often based on common interests, a feeling of togetherness. Sometimes you can be apart from your friends for a long time, but when you see them it feels like it was only  yesterday since the last time. When a friend you love is happy, you are happy for them even if you otherwise are feeling sad. When they cry, you want to do everything to make it better. It is like the love for family, but as for a member of your family that you have chosen, not one you were born with.

Romantic love seems to be the most desperate of them all. It seems to be the one we spend most our time looking for. When talking about love, most seem to think of romantic love. Some seem to mix romantic love with passion and sex. Romantic love seems to be the hardest one to figure out.

If you are hurt by romantic love, you might shut it out, but be okay if you still got love for family, friends and/or for the world in general.

Buddhists talk about giving up love. Love is wanting. Wanting invites suffering. Love is thus suffering. Instead of loving, you should be accepting of everything as it is. You should be content. Stop wanting.

“Wanting”. Wanting seems to be essential for romantic love. You want it. You need it. Sometimes you feel that you cannot live without it. If you do not have it, you think about getting it. You try to figure it out. What is wrong with you, you might wonder if you have not found it. I want it. I want it, I need it, and I must have it.

I had it. I lost it. What is there now to live for? What did I do wrong?

I have it. Will I now treat it right? Am I sure I have it? What if I only think I have it, but actually I do not have it? How do I know that what I have is love?

Love. Why is it so hard to give it up without becoming all hard and dead inside? If we should stop loving to be happy, why then is it so hard to do just that? Why do not more people do it? Or do they do it?

I find no answers, I find only questions.

CAN you give up love, without giving up compassion, empathy, kindness?

Instead of giving up love, should we not embrace love? Instead of desperately looking for that one person to love, should we not strive to love everyone? Let love into our hearts, not shut it out? Give in to love.

Love causes suffering because we want to have what we love. Should we not instead just accept that we can also love without the need of owning what we love?

Maybe it is not love that is the problem; maybe it is the desire to claim what we love that causes the suffering and hurt and damage?

When does love hurt us? – When it leaves us, when we do not have it, when we just keep looking for it without seeming to find it anywhere.

What if instead of looking for it, we would strive to be it? Be Love. If you love everyone, if you love everything, if you just let yourself feel the love that is everywhere, it can never leave you. If you accept love without claiming it, you cannot lose it. Like a flower that withers and die when you pluck it, but continues to grow and live its life to the fullest when just left as it is, love can be enjoyed.

Why do we want to claim love then?

Why do we want love to be ours, and ours alone? Is it the basic need for procreation? Is it a need to be seen as special, if only by this one other person? If everyone loves everyone, are we afraid to disappear in the crowd? Are we afraid to be lonely in the middle of love and happiness? Are we afraid of not being noticed? Are we afraid of being forgotten?


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