What is Love and What Does it Look Like?
My reply to genuine questions from a follower
I was having a conversation with a follower of mine and he admitted that he's not sure if he's ever been in love or if he's been loved before.
He genuinely asked me to define "love", and what it feels like or looks like in a relationship. So, here is my answer:
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I believe there is a key component that determines whether love can or can't exist: vulnerability. To express love or accept love requires you to be emotionally vulnerable and if you fear being exploited more than you desire experiencing love, it won't happen.
Love makes you do things that are seemingly irrational or unexplainable yet it makes perfect sense why you'd want to do it. To be clear, infatuation is not the same as love because you can be obsessed with someone who is clearly harmful or for superficial reasons.
Love makes you open to changing your entire life so you can stay connected with someone who brings you peace and willing to discard your old patterns of selfishness as a sacrifice to be closer to someone who makes you a better individual.
Faith is the belief in something or someone that may not always be substantiated with evidence and to be able to express love, you have to have faith in the person you're expressing it to that they won't betray you or nefariously leverage your love for personal gain.
True love is optimistic because it's the only way you can lower your guard and trust someone besides yourself. A relationship pessimist has trouble loving because they're always looking for verification to trust, meaning, they don't have faith in the person they're with.
Love isn't transactional: you can't buy love. Sure, someone might be with you because you buy them things or provide them comforts in life but it's not love that's keeping them there, which means as soon things change for you economically, they'll go elsewhere.
If you're someone who is running through hard times, love will not only keep that person there by your side but love will encourage them to sacrifice even more to help bring back stability.
Couples in transactional relationships avoid sacrificing for each other because their objective is to receive, not give. When you're in love, giving feels just as good as receiving because the happiness of your partner matters as much as your own.
There are relationship narratives that exist online that paint the opposite sex as being sociopathic & stating the only way to find success is to out-sociopath the opposite sex. However, this is coming from people who see love as a threat because they've likely been hurt before.
Their objective isn't to seek love or to instruct on what proper love looks like, but rather to exploit the fear of their audience for financial gain. Yes, most of us have had our hearts broken but what we should do is learn from what went wrong rather than avoid love altogether.
I believe the follower I was talking to is conflicted because he's struggling with his "relationship self-esteem" as he's been in unhealthy relationships that were far more transactional than loving (if loving at all) which created a jaded view about his future relationships.
Sometimes the people who are unfamiliar with what love looks like grew up in unloving homes and when the people who created you refuse to give you unconditional love, you doubt that anyone else can do any better. They know love as conditional to behavior, which is inauthentic.
You typically get what you put out into the world, so if you're unwilling to love, you'll likely receive a partner who behaves the same way. Healthy loving people want to be with someone capable of expressing it back to them.
A relationship without love is empty; so fill it up.