If there’s one abstract concept that we all still have yet to fully understand, it’s love. From children to old adults that have seen it and done it all, the concept of love is a difficult thing to grasp. What is it? How does it work? Why are there some common bonds that everyone can relate to, yet every situation so different? Is there a perfect way to love someone?
A doctor can’t tell you how to love someone well—no matter what or who tries to sell you “prescription love”, it’s not a thing. There’s no one trick that if you do this, everything will be revealed and you will discover love’s secrets. And no matter how many websites you go to, no matter how many things or people you view or talk to—or how many things you click—love will not come that easily. Yes, love is the most elusive object of our desires. We all want it, and we all need it.
And I’m not here to tell you, unlike those other guys or girls—those “gurus”—how to love, or what are the “best practices” and tricks.
Really, I just felt compelled to help you (and really, myself) get even a closer grasp of what love is. Defining some qualities of love can be more useful and less invasive than some random guy saying, “Do this, do that, or else you’re not doing it right”. I have a wonderful woman in my life that I love dearly, and when things are going a little rough, sometimes it is actually more helpful to understand than have someone intrusively try to butt into our affairs.
Real Love is: Living
Something I see a lot of in not just my relationship, but a lot of other relationships, is the need to live. And no, I don’t mean live for each other—I don’t mean constantly needing to be together, 24 hours, 7 days a week, doing goodness knows what activities together all the time. Sure, when we all begin relationships, we seek out that kind of bond. We want to constantly be around each other; we want to be there for them always. And as the relationship progresses, that desire to support, be with, and connect with our significant other shouldn’t dissipate.
But it does change. We quickly realize that our boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, whoever—has dreams and aspirations. They have goals that they want to fulfill just as much as we do. They aren’t just existing on planet earth just to appease us; no, they have a purpose just as God gave us a purpose. Some of that purpose is to be in our lives and be our companion. But also some of that purpose is to do other things and to fulfill their own destinies outside of being a husband or wife.
When that change does happen, we can still fawn over our loved ones (I still do every day, believe me), no doubt! Love though, considers their own life outside of us; it’s less about selfish nature and wanting to hoard them for ourselves. It becomes a duty and a privilege to our significant other to lift them up and see them succeed—to see them do better than ourselves, if only to see that smile on their face and that true happiness come out. Letting them live with us and not for us gives us the utmost satisfaction because we care about them deeply.
When they’re at their happiest, we’re at our happiest. And sharing that together is truly living in love.
Real Love is: Ownership
You know, when you’ve been single for so long, you really want a relationship—usually a real one, that matters. Take it from me, who never dated in high school, or college, and finally started dating in adulthood while living in a completely different country (Korea), you really want at some point to have a person to call your “boo thang”. A strange thing happens though, after you’ve made that leap and commitment and gone steady for a bit. I’ve noticed it, and it’s a prevalent feeling.
You miss being hit on.
It’s a strange series of events; you miss the attention of the opposite sex. You miss having people pursue you. We all know this is a real case too, because not only do we see and hear it in pop culture—movies, TV, you name it—we see it in our friends in our daily lives. We even experience it, at one point, too. Truth be told, that feeling is a dangerous feeling and leads to a lot of problems down the road; mistrust, deception, hurt. Not just for one party, but both involved.
Love is about ownership, and not of the other person. True love is owning up to the fact that you’re taken and you cherish it. A genuineness about liking the person you are committed to, beyond just basal instincts like attractiveness, and can’t see yourself with anyone else. Eventually that gives pride in who you both are as a team: you’re amazing, and he/she makes you more amazing and pushes you, and you’re proud to call him/her your own.
Real love says: “Who needs being hit on for temporary compliments when you can take ownership in a long lasting legacy?”
Real Love is: Vulnerable
Something that I like to reiterate to myself when it comes to loving anyone from my girlfriend to my parents, is that I’m not perfect. I can’t do everything under the sun; I can’t expect to appease every single thing that someone asks of me. And most importantly, I can’t be okay with not letting that be known. We all have to come to grips with our imperfection in a relationship, and understand that no matter how “tough” we are, or what experiences we have overcome, we are still able to feel pain.
Vulnerable was first used all the way back in the 1600s, from the Latin root vulnerabilis, to connote the action of being wounded. And then modern day dictionaries now carry the definition of, “able to be easily physically, emotionally, or mentally hurt,influenced, or attacked:”. The word is rooted in pain and being hurt—and now it encapsulates emotional hurt, too. When we enter a relationship of true love, we come to terms with the fact that both ourselves and our partners are susceptible to emotional pain, no matter how it happens.
Real love involves that susceptibility, but does not try to mask it or hide it. It does not try to block it out for it to be buried under the rug, so to speak. No, true love is able to bring that pain to light; to give it an opportunity to be healed and dealt with.
That pain can be comforted in the best way possible, too—with the affection of the guy or girl that you really care for from the bottom of your heart.
Real Love is: Empathy
Kind of carrying with the theme above, love that is real involves a lot of empathy. Often times one person or another wants to give advice to help—they want to be there for the other person, and tell them what to do to fix that pain. Grace, however, sometimes means really getting down in the dirt and feeling it with your girlfriend or boyfriend; husband or wife. Sometimes, we just need to listen, really listen, and be unashamed to say we don’t have the answers at all.
Love has this crazy way of not giving an answer, and letting people figure it out together, as one.
And that’s the most powerful part of a real love for someone—it isn’t about being right all the time, or proving a point, or even trying to get in and lift them up. It’s about acceptance and finding mutual peace; getting on our knees so our lover can climb onto our backs to get higher, instead of grabbing their arms from the top and pulling.
Real, true love is a work of unselfishness.
Real love is a process of growth as a unit, not as two individuals.
Just like the ground we walk on, the mountains we gaze at, and the planet we live on, real, legitimate love is really just an imperfect, well-planned and mind blowing mess.
Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach