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People have been writing about love since before forever.
Songs. Books. Plays. Sonnets. Operas. Movies. Articles. TikToks.
You name a medium and about a billion people all over the world, and throughout time, have used it to try and explain what true love is.
What it feels like. How you know it’s real.
And for good reason.
Love is expansive. It weaves itself into every aspect of our lives.
Whether we’re talking about self-love or love for our family, our partner, our children, or our pets, love is what connects us.
So how do you put that feeling into words?
Well, today that’s exactly what I was wondering when I asked Elephant readers how they explain the feeling of true love.
There were the beautiful, but expected, responses:
“True love isn’t a feeling. It’s a choice you decide to make every day.” ~ Iris
“That sense that the ‘something’ that was missing from your life vanishes as that piece of the puzzle that only they hold locks into place, and your soul is complete.” ~ Kristi
“A feeling of comfort and safety. Like wearing a comfy sweater that acts like a suit of armor. You have the confidence to face anything because you know you’re safe.” ~ Joshua
And the funny ones:
“You know that tingly feeling you get when you are soooo in love? That’s the feeling of common sense leaving your body.” ~ Joanne
“Chemicals that make you somewhat crazy and form a sort of addiction for another person. Love is weird.” ~ Anna
“The second bite of a taco when you hit all of the ingredients.” ~ Rosie
But somewhere in the middle of the beautiful, funny, sad, heart-opening responses, was one word. The moment I read it, I thought to myself, “F*ck. That’s it.”
This one small word sums up exactly what I know and believe true love to be:
True love is progress.
True love is growth.
True love is breaking through.
True love is moving forward.
True love is working together to succeed.
True love is making tomorrow better than today.
True love is knowing that even when tomorrow isn’t better than today that we will try again the next day…and the day after that.
Whether we’re talking about love with ourselves or others, all the flowery ideas and rumblings about unexplainable feelings and soulmates and comfort and safety and peace and being “at home” are lovely and give us that fluttery feeling in our heart. And believe me, these feelings have their place in our idea of love.
But at the end of the day—at least for me—I know it’s true love when someone is willing to progress with me. When someone is willing to show up and stick it out and be all in, even when things are hard. Even when the struggles feel insurmountable. Even when we annoy the hell out of each other. Even when we say or do things out of anger or frustration and have to come back and apologize, again and again. Even when we don’t agree on the way forward.
True love is wanting to find—and actively working toward—that way forward, together.