Giving and receiving love is a basic human need, but do we really understand what love is? The word is bandied about, often loosely. But it’s the ultimate ‘feel good’ emotion, from which all the others flow.
All human emotions ultimately boil down love and fear
Think about it: Why do you get angry? Because you’re afraid that something bad has happened or is about to happen.
Why do you worry or feel anxious? Same reason.Jealousy? Plainly fear of loss.
All ‘negative’ emotions are based on fear. If someone is unkind to you, they are hurting in some way, and hurt people tend to hurt others (often unintentionally). No-one is unkind unless he or she is suffering.
If someone attacks you or mistreats you, ask yourself, ‘What is this person afraid of?’ You’ll instantly see the situation differently.
Love and fear are two distinct states of being, two very different worlds of experience. Everything we do is motivated by one or the other.
Real love is not:
- Romantic love
‘Falling in love’ is an intense emotional experience mainly driven by our sex hormones. It can’t last. The object of romantic ‘love’ is a fantasy, not the person as they really are.
Real love is more than physical attraction or infatuation, and it’s not reserved for just one special person.
What starts as romantic love usually fades as the early passion is lost; or it develops into something else, such as a deep friendship, compassion or (ideally) unconditional love.
Co-dependent love is characterised by the words, ‘I need you’. The parties feel as if they wouldn’t be able to cope if their loved one were out of their lives. Co-dependent love can become jealous, possessive, controlling and ultimately stifling.
- Conditional love
Conditional love is characterised by, ‘I love you because…’ or ‘I’ll love you if…’ It lasts only as long as one or both continue to fulfill the other’s expectations.
It is often used as a form of manipulation, control, or emotional blackmail.
Genuine love is unconditional: is a deep-seated desire to foster the happiness, prosperity, personal and spiritual growth of another. There are no prerequisites, and no thought for one’s own benefit. No reciprocation is called for or required.
Unconditional love is a powerful force for change. One loves and accepts the other exactly as they are (you don’t try to change what you unconditionally love). If one is with another person, it’s from choice, not need – you’re perfectly capable of surviving on your own.
A passage from the Bible describes this kind of love perfectly:
‘Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other peoples’ sins and delights in truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, to endure whatever comes.
1 Corinthians 13, 4-7
Just before his tragic death in 1980, 13 years after he wrote the well known Beatles song, John Lennon was asked if he still believed that all we need is love. The older, wised Lennon replied:
‘I still believe all you need is love, but I don’t believe that just saying it will do. But I still believe that love is what we all need.’
Sentiments with which this author absolutely agrees!
©David Lawrence Preston, 4.6.2016
Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston
How To Books, 2007