What is Love? | 什么是爱?

Photo cred to Errka

Photo cred to Errka

What is love? It’s a question that’s been boggling my mind since 1992. In some ways, the concept of it feels very foreign and utopian. On the other, it’s as natural and vital as breathing.

To me, loving someone means putting another person before yourself. I don’t mean like dedicating all your time to someone and leaving none for yourself, but you should be able to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else. I don’t mean you have to be the next superhero or anything either. You should know what “you” are, like what you believe in, what you like/dislike and what makes you you. Sure, the people you meet might influence your tastes and you might come to change some of your fundamental beliefs– but the changes shouldn’t be from pure persuasion. You should be able to come to your own conclusions, make your own decisions and know where you wanna be in life before trying to support someone else. It’s mentally and physically draining to be with someone who constantly needs to be taken care of.

With that said, loving someone else isn’t easy. You have to make a lot of sacrifices, go through many unpleasantries all for the sake of another person. They might say stupid, thoughtless things that hurt your feelings. Your nice deeds might go unnoticed, and sometimes they can be incredibly inconsiderate or insensitive. And you wonder why you still stick with them when they don’t remember that one joke or that one time you hold dear. Why would anyone put up with this?

IMG_5019Beneath the surface, there’s a chance at something incredible. The risk is worth taking to see if the feeling’s mutual. When you’re getting to know someone, the idea of being rejected to due your past is horrifying. But love is accepting, and that person will try to understand your past and help you see your future. As human beings, we’re constantly changing and adapting to our environment, but what makes us unique individuals remains the same– and that’s what they should love you for, for you as yourself. Love is an emotion that deals with entireties, not fragments. I don’t think someone really loves you if they’re only focused on your past or on who you could become.

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.” – William Shakespeare

Love can provide so much more beyond just physical attraction or companionship. I think love in its most ideal form is servile. Being with a person you love inspires you and motivates you to become someone even better than the person you are now. This sense of devotion and loyalty fuels passion, not just for that person, but everything that you do; the joy that derives from this person spreads to all aspects in your life. A long time friend described it as “enriching each other’s lives,” and I can’t agree more.

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Though love is powerful and uplifting, it’s also temporary. Nothing good lasts forever… at least, not without effort. You have to constantly spark what set love on fire in the first place. A certain amount of time and perseverance is needed by both parties, as well as means of clear communication. Do whatever you have to do to remind yourself, “This person is worth it.” For me, recollecting special moments in time– whether it’s an inside joke, a silly photo or handwritten notes– is enough to trigger appreciation. And if you can’t really find any matches to start the fire, then maybe it’s time for some reevaluation.

When you love someone, you never forget them. Whether you like it or not, they’re going to be a part of your life and take a role in shaping who you are. If you’re doing this whole love thing right, sometimes it should be so moving that it brings tears to your eyes. In my experience, the people who truly love you will let you know in one way or another.

The whole process of loving someone is frightening and needs a lot of personal investment. You’ll feel as vulnerable as a possum crossing Highway 401 during rush hour, but as long as you make it to that other side–

well, then you’d be home.

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