What is the definition of love? Complete that sentence in one word. Love is ____? Can’t think of anything can you? It's not that easy to define because love is invisible, timeless, and means different things to so many people. In fact, the thesaurus offered no words that could replace the word love fully in a sentence (i.e., affection was the closest word I found and that still doesn’t even come close to defining love, especially true love, the feel it in your soul kind of love).
The online dictionary's definition of love is: A strong feeling of affection and concern toward another person, as that arising from kinship or close friendship.
So even the online dictionary doesn’t limit love to being just a verb or an adjective because they can’t and that is because it is something we feel and that we do (or choose to do or not do). We are born from the act of making love, and of course most of us grow up looking for it from another person and some of us are lucky to find it once or even multiple times.
Most of us also take love for granted. The love we got daily as children from our mothers, fathers, grandparents and other elders who were our initial role models in this world most likely loved us so much that, because of that unconditional love, they were forced to teach us about hate and what we needed to fear. They taught us discipline and rules, thus making us resent them at times when things came up that made the rules breakable. Yes, of course they loved us but they taught us to self-protect and in the process, may have forgotten to teach us to self-love because they didn’t know how to self-love themselves. That is unfortunately a newer term but something everyone struggles with. Self-love isn’t selfish, it is very healthy and something we all need to be better at.
Maybe that is why as humans we are consistently in search of “the one” but have such a hard time finding him or her. If we can’t define love and we were never taught to love ourselves, how do we find “the one” to give love to? If we compare our lives to the love stories we see in the movies we are sure to be disappointed. Is it so unreal to think you can’t just meet “the one” and just know it? It happened to me. I knew I was meant to marry my ex-husband and even though it didn’t work out, I have no regrets and it surely wasn’t because we didn’t love each other. We always will in fact, but we also loved ourselves more, and enough to know that our differences just couldn’t be worked out. Sometimes that happens and that’s ok. Again, most likely not what most of us were taught. We were most likely taught the opposite.
You might say how can I love myself if I can’t even define love? Well that is a good question and I will give you the answer I give my kids when they ask me how they will know if the person they meet is “the one”. I always say make sure they are your best friend. Same with loving yourself. You really can’t love your best friend if you don’t love yourself. You decide to be good to yourself or not, you decide to make good choices for your body, your mind and your soul, so treat yourself the way you wanted to be treated. I know the adage is treat others the way you want to be treated, well that should be done too, but never at the sacrifice of the love for yourself.
Love is within. That is my definition of love in one word. Women especially must learn that self-love is truly within them and about them. Once you become all you need, you have so much more love to offer “the one” worthy of having it.