Love is a beautiful thing. We sense that it is freeing, that it can be inspiring, that it is about realizations, truths and connections.
Love connects us all. We are lucky to experience it in any shape or form, and it binds us all.
Hectic, dangerous and confusing as the world can feel—where nations are at war and in turmoil, where people are migrating out of fear, religions at times preach hate, the poor are suffering and the hungry remain hungry—love is the key to freedom. Love is the key to understanding, patience and the connection between us all.
When nations are at war, individuals of these nations only need to get to know each other, to understand each other, to feel each others happiness and pain, in order to let go of ancient or present hatreds and come closer to one another.
Love does that.
It creates the understanding that we are all the same. That no matter our past, our present, our choices, our skills or even our race, we all want happiness, freedom and love.
But what is love? Sometimes, we can get confused about that.
Even though on the level of eternal consciousness we are all bound by love, we can get confused about what true love is.
And in those times, we can make mistakes when it comes to love.
When it comes to matters of the heart, to letting in the light and distancing ourselves from the darkness, sometimes we can confuse lust, curiosity or impure intentions—based on use or abuse of our soul, body and mind by another—as love.
The longing in every human being for connection, intimacy and real feelings, emotions and sharing of the mind, body and heart, can be so strong that we make the wrong connections with people who are out to bring darkness to our light.
As hard as it is to define universal or individual love in words and deeds and give it a precise definition—as it can not be defined or captured by another’s experience of it—when it comes to real one-on-one intimate relations with another human, there are signs though of what love is not.
This is a brief letter I once wrote to myself when broken by love, after realizing that the real deal can never be hurtful or malicious. I finally excluded all that I believe is not love, and believe this to be worthy to share with others, so that the ones who are struggling with an idea of love—suffering at the hands of those who pretend to offer it—can learn from my experience.
It is simple; it is simplistic really, but once we experience what is not truly loving, we can perhaps come to true love, as it can be:
“You know you are not loved when you have that gut feeling. When your intuition tells you that love does not compare, feel defensive, ridicule, hurt intentionally, lie, use bad language to destroy you emotionally, cheat (emotionally) or abuse physically, sexually or mentally.
Love does not want to compete, conquer, excuse itself, pretend, stab or withhold information, understanding or love. Love does not want to use and call itself love; love does not have an end in mind.
Love does not give ultimatums.
It does not exclude, mistrust or abuse trust; love does not twist words, meanings and intentions. Love does not argue that your love is not real, because there is no discussion about love—it is.
It just is.
It does not cease to exist just because you are not a match. Love does not vanish one day, and appear the next because that day was more fun. And last but not least, love does not say, “You are replaceable, because everybody is replaceable,” nor is it linked to that kind of mentality.
For the love of God, if this is anyone’s definition of love in their behavior—it is not love.”
A friend shared once, “One of the greatest tragedies in life is to lose your own sense of self, and accept the version of you that is expected by everyone else.”
I would add that tragedy is even greater if you believe that that is what love should be.
Love accepts. It is liberating, it is enchanting, it opens up your eyes, it lets you breathe—endlessly. It is everything and it embraces everything. It is you, it is me, it is us and the sum of us, and it lasts forever.
So be on the lookout for it; since it is everywhere, we can find it anywhere. We just have to make sure we can recognize it.
Author: Yas Knegt
Editor: Toby Israel