What is love?

I am on a new journey. For the first time in my life, I have been discovering how to live not based on feelings. I am on the 3rd week of this class called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) which I had felt the Holy Spirit leading me towards. This week our teacher talked about how we are constantly pushing away the unpleasurable experiences and seeking-hoarding-the pleasurable. This is me. It’s probably most people. I have just begun to realize that I easily jump from one high to the next. The problem is, as with any addiction, the experience lasts maybe a few minutes, then you are left wanting.

So, because of this and health reasons, I have cut out caffeine and am working on lowering my sugar intakes. I have noticed I don’t long for them as much now, which is such an answer to prayer!  But, substances are one thing. What about feelings? My feelings have taught me so much, yet they have also led to a lot of confusing, disturbing and deceitful thoughts.

The one feeling I have been thinking about in light of Valentine’s Day coming up is love. But is love even a feeling? This is what I am trying to figure out. As you’ve probably heard a million times, the English language doesn’t do a very good job with the word “love.” I’m so mixed up because I know I am a loving person. I have a lot of love for God and others, the Earth, animals and a growing love for my self. My question is how do you know when you are “in love?” Or is that just a Hollywood thing, something made up? Does love for a significant other just arrive or does it come over time kind of like it does with platonic relationships? I keep trying to see if my feelings are similar to the lyrics of songs or what I have heard my friends and loved ones say who are in relationships. There it is again: I am searching for some “high” that will never last.

In my journal, I reflected that love for me is felt in a number of ways. The first way is an aching or longing. I have this for God a lot when I want to go to heaven. I have it for a close friend or sibling I haven’t seen in awhile. I have it when I am jealous of my loved one’s affections for or time spent with others and not me. The second is love in the form of compassion. When a loved one, or even a stranger or animal, is expressing hurt I long to help them, hold them, heal them, protect them. The urge is so strong, I sometimes even feel I could die for this person. The third is gratefulness, when I think of what the person or pet has offered to my life and that leads itself to love for God for giving me these gifts of relationships.

I guess all of these are platonic love. But aren’t they also part of romantic love? I guess what I am learning (and being reminded of) in my class is to allow myself to feel what I feel without judging it. Or allow myself to not feel and not judge. Or experience “love” or whatever else the way I experience it and not compare. That’s hard. But it is so refreshing!

I am curious…

What is love like for you? Do you have a meaning for it? Is it a feeling? Or a choice? Or both? Do you experience love in different ways with different people and with your different roles in life? What is the difference between platonic and romantic love? Do you experiences “highs” like they talk about in movies, songs, etc.?

I would love your feedback…Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

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2 comments

  1. Dan Bettger · February 13, 2015

    For me, love is at its foundation a commitment, a choice. No matter what comes, good or not so good, I made a decision to build and preserve a lifetime relationship with my spouse. I stay true to that commitment because I have found that the positives clearly outweigh the negatives. We celebrate the great times, work our way through the tough times and try in relax during all the in-between times.

    Romantic love is more the emotional, feeling part of love, and yes there are highs and lows. Romantic love is very real, and I am learning that it is an important part of an enduring relationship between a husband and wife. However, even when I am not feeling overly romantic, I am still “in love” because I have made a long-term commitment to someone.

    I consider that most of musical love, young “puppy” love, and Hollywood love is the emotional, romantic “feeling” side of love. It often does not hold a relationship together. Only a strong commitment to another person will make it possible to enjoy love for a lifetime.

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