While “researching” for what I wanted to write about next, I came across the most interesting observation. I was trying to look for the most-asked questions on Google, and see if I could add to the existing knowledge out there to try and help the curious minds of the world.
Most of the questions on that list seemed like normal things to ask the almighty knowledge source that Google is.
When are the NBA playoffs?
What is my IP?
What time is it?
How to register to vote?
How to draw?
How many weeks are there in a year?
Well, for all of these questions, Google has a pretty legit answer and it shows up as your top result in emphatic style.
Yet, there was one question that stood out to me — which even Google didn’t have a definitive answer to.
That question is a very existential one and one we struggle to figure out for most of our lives.
What is Love?
This time, however, even Google was less emphatic in its answer. It showed up an excerpt from an article that ranked on top of its SEO settings — but still had a vague answer. Here’s the answer that showed up — :
Love is complex.
A mix of emotions, behaviors, and beliefs associated with strong feelings of affection, protectiveness, warmth, and respect for another person.
Love can also be used to apply to non-human animals, to principles, and to religious beliefs. For example, a person might say he or she loves his or her dog, loves freedom, or loves God.
Does that leave you with a concrete idea of what love is? It definitely doesn’t do it for me. Especially because the answer has so many intangibles — affection, protectiveness, warmth, and respect — what do they even mean?
So, I thought of doing my own take on what love truly is and provide an answer to a question that’s been around for thousands of years, but still perplexes everyone.
. . .
Love Is a Language of No Words
It is often quite hard to really describe what you feel, and love is one of the hardest things to describe.
Yet, when true love is communicated, there is little chance you will miss it, no matter what language you speak or who you are. Love is in those little acts and those tiny gestures that are all around us.
Love is the look in a mother’s eyes and the twinkle in her tears of joy when she holds her child for the first time.
Love is the warmth in the embrace of a partner who meets her better half after days of separation and longing.
Love is in the giggles of a two-year-old when he sees mommy and daddy show up at the door after a long day of staying at home with the nanny.
Love is in those licks of your pet dog that may be gross to another but brighten up your morning every time.
Love is in those smiles that visit your lips, and the tears that simultaneously well up in your eyes when you think of the fond memories of a loved one who’s now in another, perhaps better world.
. . .
Love Is Unbridled Joy and Unending Pain
There are very few things that are capable of giving you extreme feelings on both ends of the spectrum.
If there is one thing that’s capable of it, it is love.
If you want to understand the amount of joy that’s felt when someone you truly “love” says Yes to marry you, just ask the one who walked their loved one walk away with another.
If you want to know how much joy does a mother feel when she holds her child in her arms, just go see a mother who lost her child, and the magnitude of grief she feels will be just about the same amount.
Love has the power to give you everything, and yet still the power to take everything away from you — all in a day’s work.
. . .
Love Is a Habit — There’s Good Ones and Bad Ones
I am one of those who doesn’t do overly expressive gestures to show how much I love my wife. Nor does she. We don’t do elaborate dates anymore nor do we exchange as many gifts as we should even on special occasions.
Yet, when my wife is gone for a couple of days or I am on a work trip — a major “something” feels missing. That’s what love is — it is a habit that you can’t get out of. It is a beautiful habit to be in if it’s healthy and positive. It enriches and nourishes everyone involved in it directly or indirectly.
Yet, there is a scary kind of love too — like all things, too much of Love is bad too. Because that is when it turns into an obsession.
The obsessive kind of love pretends to be love, but it is merely obstinance in disguise. The obsessive kind of love demands to be returned — but true love never demands, it only gives. This is when love turns dangerous for everyone involved — leading to unpleasant consequences.
. . .
Love Is the Oxygen For Relationships
It is something that is as essential as oxygen is to life. None of us really feel or celebrate the fact that we inhale oxygen every second but take it away for a minute and you start to sink into the abyss of death. That is just what love does to relationships.
Every relationship has love at the core of it — it may not be felt while it exists, but the moment it leaves the relationship, it dies an eventual death.
Like they often say you need to “keep things fresh” in a relationship, that essentially translates to keep the flame of love going so the bond stays alive.
Like oxygen, love is easily taken for granted, but it is still the most vital part of our lives.
. . .
Love to me is all this and much more — and the answer to “what is love” still remains elusive — because love is an unquantifiable, undefinable entity that we all experience in some shape or form, yet when faced with this question, we’ll never have an emphatic Google response to it.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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