Tuesday, November 18, 2014

RealTalk: Love - What is it?

I’ve been overwhelmed the past couple of days with the definition of love. Love is such a subjective concept and I call it a concept for that exact reason. As most of my friends and I are young adults, trying to find our way in the world, we sometimes can’t help thinking about our future life partners. Overwhelmed with hashtagged weddings, elaborately decorated celebrations, juxtaposed with the failed marriages that come to light soon after those grand events, these discussions come hand in hand with the discussion of love. What is it, and how does one maintain it?  

My mains and I have completely different ideas on love, relationships and how they should work. Seeing as we have all been raised by different people who have gone through their own life experiences, that is perfectly natural. Because we all have different opinions, it again highlights that there is no one way, or right way.

So what is love in the context of a relationship? In my opinion, love is the complete unconditional acceptance of another person. To give a few examples, you accept their strengths, weaknesses, flaws, fears, hopes and dreams.

I have realized that more often than not, we forget that people change over time, the man you love today might be completely different in the next few months, or next few years. Love dictates that you will accept him as he presents himself to you regardless of how he might have changed. The reason why we generally run into difficulty is that we get so used to a person being a certain way, that when they change you need to learn to accept them all over again. Not only that, but there might be tastes, values, opinions or personality traits you might not see coming. Further, you are going to have to realign those changes with your ‘self’, which also changes over time. In a sense, you choose to fall in love with that person again. 

Why did I just say choose? I ran into an amazing saying a few weeks ago, it stated that you cannot help who your attracted to, but you do choose who you love. Scientifically speaking, when we are attracted to someone, our body releases certain chemicals that cause us to feel, act and think in a certain way. We don’t consciously tell our body to release those chemicals we just do it, naturally! That sounds amazing doesn’t it? However, why is it that the case is different when it comes to love? Why is it that people say they are no longer ‘in love’? That is because often times we mistake attraction, or sexual tension for love. Love as already depicted earlier in article goes much deeper than just surface attraction. It is about the complete acceptance of another person. This crosses physical barriers into the emotional, and mental. Which although still involving chemicals, it is controlled by our conscious thought. Therein lies the key difference. We choose to say yes, to be married to this one person for the rest of our lives. We choose to say yes to the fact that when things go wrong, we will stay by their side. That is a major commitment that should not be taken lightly.

I believe (myself included), that we are guilty of allowing the media (books, movies, series, adverts) to affect our perception of love. It is depicted generally speaking, as either love at first sight, or love during a weekend, that involved some trial that was overcome. Or it was a whirlwind romance, that ended in tragedy. These movies are created to entertain. Whilst they make us feel all giddy and inspired inside, they do nothing to help us with the real world. In my opinion, more often than not, that concept of love does not exist, if it does, it does not last, and even then, only very few people have been able to attain it, especially in the 21st century with our changing morals, perceptions, technological advances and various other distractions.

Therefore, as much as love can mean different things to different people, something has been made very clear to me - love is a major commitment. If people focus on the fact that love is a choice, they will realise when the chips are down that they chose to love this person, to be with this person, to share a life with this person, and they might just try a little harder to make things work.

All pictures are taken from Google. Georgette Monnou reserves no rights to the images used. 

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