14 February 2011

What Isn't Love?

The age-old question is on all of our minds at one time or another, isn't it?  Just what is love?  What does it mean to us?  I'm afraid that I don't have any definitive answers, though I have learned some very important things about love in my years of doing research on what it means to live a happy life.

Probably the most important thing that I've learned about love is just how warped our ideas about it are.  Love isn't something that we "find," for example--love is inside each of us, all the time.  We just have to decide to let it be an important part of our lives if we want to let it shine into the world.

Love also isn't something that we should call our tendencies to develop co-dependent relationships.  The idea of "you and I against the world" is simply silly--the world isn't against us at all, but we seem to believe that by developing a strong team-like bond with another person we can fight against the powers that somehow conspire against us.  The only problem is that there are no such powers.  There are no conspiracies, and developing such a relationship simply isn't healthy, as we then tend to look at the other person as a savior of some sort.

Love isn't something that we share only with people with whom we have family ties or people with whom we have romantic ties.  In fact, love isn't romantic at all.  Love is steady, love is unconditional, love is pure and undemanding, or it isn't love at all.  Love isn't infatuation, and love isn't based on physical attraction--physical attraction is real and important, but it certainly isn't love.  Love isn't controlling someone else because you "know what's best for them."

Love is simply love.  Purely and simply.

The face of love is variable.  I am able to love without demanding that
my relationships assume the structures and forms I might choose for them.
My love is fluid, flexible, committed, creative.  My love allows people and
events to unfold as they need.  My love is not controlling.  It does not dictate
or demand.  My love allows those I love the freedom to assume the forms
most true to them.  I release all those I love from my preconceptions of
their path.  I allow them the dignity of self-definition while I offer them
a constant love that is ever variable in shape.
Julia Cameron

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