“What is it like to really love someone? I’m asking because I know you have, and I haven’t felt this way yet.”
I’m not sure if my response was adequate when my friend asked me this question. I did, however, mention that unlike my peers, who seem able to just “move on” and “let go” easily, every subsequent relationship in my life has become a major disappointment after knowing the power and effect of real, true love.
Love is such a common theme in our culture.
We’re able to “love” someone’s post on Facebook. When texting, we can send little heart emojis back and forth and reply with, “love you boo!” Many popular movies are based around the theme of love. Every major city has that L-O-V-E statue that shows up on every 23-year-old girl’s Instagram page.
But, we often have a strong misperception of what “love” really means.
Many of us believe that we are in love with someone because we are drawn to them, have invested time and energy into our relationship with them, and/or because at some emotional time in our life, we believed we couldn’t live without them. Unfortunately, developing these kinds of emotions for someone does not necessarily equate to true love.
Love is a recipe of care, affection, honesty, communication, trust, respect, and commitment. Love is shown through actions more than through words. Love is a connection beyond our physical bodies, texting culture, couple selfies, and matching honeymoon t-shirts.
Love is not about “loving yourself first.” I hate when people say that, because love is about caring for someone else in such a way that we lose ourselves a little. Love, in fact, doesn’t give a sh*t about that photo you posted in your workout gear to attract the ladies and prove that you are “doing me, boo.”
Real, true love is not described accurately through a post, an emoji, or a snapchat story. Real, true love is something that calls bullsh*t on our spirituality and shows us that there is something more than all of this.
Love has no time frame. We don’t have to be with someone for over three years to know if it’s love or not.
Love isn’t miraculously found when we’re looking for that out or that repair from recent heartbreaks. Love is never forgotten, and it doesn’t require us to “move on.” Real, true love will be with us eternally—even after physical separation.
Love isn’t shady, evasive, dishonest, or apprehensive. And love doesn’t leave us when we experience loss. Love can be going forward when we feel that everything else is moving back.
Love doesn’t come when we hide our true selves behind filters and cool throwback posts from when we felt younger and more alive. Love is there regardless of our pasts, emotional burdens, and illnesses. Love doesn’t block us, or choose only to talk to us when we are in a better place.
For anyone hoping to receive the same amount of love that you give in your relationship: if it hasn’t happened yet, it won’t. Love is a steady balance of giving and receiving. Love isn’t abusive, and it isn’t developed through flowers and chocolates after every fight. Love doesn’t require us to “recharge our batteries” to keep it lasting.
For those who are fearful of vulnerability and would prefer to swipe left until you feel a connection with someone through a screen—that isn’t how you’ll find love. Love is about letting your guard down.
Love is found at any age. You don’t need to travel and explore the world in your 20s so that you can be ready to settle down with someone later on. Love isn’t found in the act of settling down; instead, it encourages you to explore life at any age.
Love is consistent, kind, and without judgment. Love is what turns this world. We shouldn’t expect it to heal our wounds, but it will push us to be our better selves, even in the throes of disaster.
When we love deeply, the effects can be overwhelming, and can only be experienced by giving ourselves completely to another person. This kind of vulnerable love is frightening, especially when the loss of it feels like a hangover that carries on for years—it’s why we resist opening ourselves up. But the intensity of these very emotions proves why fully loving someone is worth the risk, even after a heartbreak.
Don’t wait for true love and don’t search for it. When the connection is there, all of the questioning will disappear, and you will know.
In a world that’s becoming more and more self-obsessed, real, true love is the factor that will bring us together again. It’s not important to completely understand it, but being open to love is necessary in a time where most people spend their free time scrolling through applications.
Real, true love gives us a reason to keep moving, and it helps us carry the hope of a light at the end of our journey.
Author: Alicia McDaniels
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis