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What is love - A life to love

Updated on January 26, 2012

what is love

We are all born for love; it is the principle existence and its only end. - Benjamin Disraeli.

Love is an all encompassing word, but we have managed to make it sound like a vulgar word. Love, trust and respect go hand in hand. Love is the culmination of the respect for all that an individual is and the trust that people place in each other. But we see that love is often confused with lust, in most parts of the world today, love mainly refers to the physical relationship, which does not necessarily have to be a part of love, no not really.

There are different kinds of love, maternal love, parental love, filial love, familial love, friendship, the love of a man for a woman or eros. How it is that one kind of love gets exalted over the others? Even in a marital or committed relationship, physical love is just a part of it, the major part is tenderness, commitment, concern, mutual understanding and emotional or self giving.

Love is a spiritual connect

“It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations” Khalil Gibran

And think not you can, Direct the course of love, For love, If it finds you worthy, Directs your course. Kahlil Gibran

I would like to look at love as mutual self giving or emotional and soulful sharing or a person giving unreservedly of themselves, their tenderness, compassion, nurturing qualities to the other and are able to receive without restraint all that the other can give. Love is indeed mutual self giving.

It is the meeting of the soul, the spiritual union that respects, strengthens and is concerned for the welfare of the other. It is like almost seeing one within the other. Love is a commitment and a responsibility for your happiness is now tied to that of the other.

I love the way Mignon McLaughlin describes love, “In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.”

Why love?

Love the greatest need

"Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." - Mark Twain

Everyone wants to be needed, respected and loved for what they are, no one is an exception. There is one great need in the world today and that is for love. Mother Teresa puts it this way.. ‘There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread’. People have hardened not because they are bad but because love has been denied to them or they have been deceived by what they thought was love.

In my experience just a few words of kindness has found me friends for life, being there for them, just listening to them, investing time and love has changed my world for me. Not only have my friends been helped but my world has been filled with unimaginable love.

Leo Buscaglia - A single rose can be my garden... a single friend, my world.

The Bible says “Give and it will be given unto you good measure, pressed down running over will men give into your bosom “. This is a basic principle for life, though it has been grossly misused to speak only about money, I would like to say love and you will be loved in abundance by people.

People long for love, for respect and others to trust them, it tells them that they are really worth it. People just want someone to invest time and affection or love into them. They have a need to be needed. That is what keeps people going. I would go to the extent of saying give a person love, patience, appreciation and nurturing care and they will be yours for ever. Leave a person alone and you will have an hardened human without the finer emotions.

Henry Ward Beecher say’s,”Love cannot endure indifference. It needs to be wanted. Like a lamp, it needs to be fed out of the oil of another’s heart, or its flame burns low.”

The power of love

"One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is Love." - Sophocles

Love is enough to make a weak person strong; a weak man would suddenly turn into a lion to defend his love. A worn out mother would become a tigress to defend her children. What is this quality about love? I wonder, that in a moment it can turn a coward into a courageous person. Love changes all things, makes all things work. It can make something out of nothing and nothing out of a monumental chaos.

Within love is the power to give, give selflessly. Within love is the power to forgive, obliterating all wrong and flaws. Within love is the power to give without expectation. In love there is no selfish motive, love seeks the good of other, love does not seek its own end. Love does seek to be different, loves seeks to blend and fuse together the commonalities in the two.

Love does not consist in gazing at each other but looking in the same direction – Antoine de Saint_Exupery.

I would think love is to laugh together, to appreciate each other, to love the differences in each other not despite it, to nurture each other and grow old together.

I read this quote by Sam Keen it says, “You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing the imperfect person perfectly”. What a thought… love dares to do all things, even see the perfect in the imperfect.

Love is when you look into someone's eyes and go all the way inside; to their soul and you both know... instantly! - Angela Chase

Love is an attitude of the heart

Love is an attitude of the heart, not a fleeting emotion that is fickle and changes color as the situation and circumstance changes. Very often people think love is an emotion, emotions are like the weather cock, when provoked they get angry, when indulged they are happy when criticized they are defensive, but love does not fall in this category. Love is a learned attitude, though it may start with emotions, love learns to adapt, to the differences, to celebrate the goodness, to respect , trust, to appreciate and live with what is its own. We can learn to love and remain in love.

Most people are in love with love.

The concept of falling in love and out of love amuses me to no end. Love is such a noble attribute, how does one fall into it and after a while fall out of it. I would rather walk into love with my eyes open, live with it learn to adapt myself to it appreciate it and nurture it to grow than blindly fall into it and at will fall out of it.

Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you is another Biblical principle. If I am willing to invest my time understanding, kindness patience compassion and all the tenderness that wells up inside of me for a creature I am sure to have that given back to me a hundred fold. But even parental loves is flawed, parents love their children with a selfish motive, as an investment to their old age. Love a child without restraint and see the child cling to you like a magnet. My little friend all of three adores the ground I walk on, I just invest time patience and love in him and respect his little soul. Love is an investment, you can withdraw from it only as much as you invest.

Love in every stage of life

Love in the teen years

"Thou art to me a delicious torment."- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Each person has a concept of love that is formed watching parents, peers, significant others around them, and the media. In teenage this concept is a highly romanticized notion of love – a world of dreams, where the earth you walk on is adored by your partner. This concept is influenced by the imagination of mind that is fed on fiction, media, immature peers and the very limited concept of physical love.

The young adult wants adoration and appreciation from the partner that is exclusive. Possessiveness is the high light of this love apart from the physical satisfaction that is derived. The obsessiveness is so strong that sometimes children are resented. Sometimes the outward or physical traits are what are important at this age. One would give anything to have a partner that is pleasing or even handsome or beautiful, but then beauty fades, ages, wrinkles and becomes weak – would they then fall out of love? Is it love at all?

The middle age is when work takes an upper hand and they need to be established in the profession or work place or even acquire a social status becomes important, pushing the love of their lives that they so hungered and worked for now to the back burner. Loves fades, if it does not have the strength to hold, gives way to seeking other kind of satisfaction and slowly a great awning gap grows into a deep divide, they move to the edge and fall out of love – truly fall out of love and life.

When in the twilight of life love seeks companionship, friendship, mutual respect, trust, a soul mate to confide and be comfortable with… where the physicality does not matter but tenderness understanding and companionship is all that is needed. At this stage love is a secure place to rest, without having to live up to someone’s expectations.

Can you conclude love............

It is incomplete to talk about love and not quote this passage from the bible.. frequently heard but rarely understood.

I Cor:13 :4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.

Love is indeed a simple fact of life, the most needed, the most sought after, less experienced and the least understood. Love is a candle that burns itself out giving light to those around in darkness, it get extinguished extinguishing darkness till the end! And that to me is love!

I will use the words of Fulton J.Sheen to sum up, “Love is mutual self-giving which ends in self – recovery!

Your comments never fail to add value to my hubs

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    • sofs profile image

      sofs 6 years ago

      Thank you Mizjo. Love is the most interesting subject to write about and it complexity of love at each stage is something most of us take for granted and lump under one heading. It enjoyed writing this a long time ago and I am glad that you dug it up and found it interesting too. Much appreciated. Have a wonderful day! God Bless!

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 6 years ago from New York City, NY

      Powerful hub, Sofs. You are a very warm-hearted person, as seen in your sentiments. I like how you see love as felt by lovers in different stages of their lives, from the raw excitement of teenage love to the serenity of love in the twilight years. Beautiful writing.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 7 years ago

      Wow! another Gibran fan! Am I getting lucky today?! Great to find people who value love over others... Love is a wonderful thing indeed, the very reason for our existence.

      Thank you Docmo for your lovely comment and God bless!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 7 years ago from UK

      Very beautiful work and in time for Christmas too. You have journeyed through the definitions and opinions on love and compiled a nice hub. BTW I always had Gibran clutched in my hand when I was in College- loved every bit of it -! This is a direct quote from a recent story of mine( Lake Placid- on hubpages) on the subject of gifts of love where one character in a Christmas shop says: “Look at all these. They are nothing but papier-mâché, wood and metal. Pigments of paint, silver strings and ribbons. But to someone who cares about these they are ornaments, heirlooms, treasured objects, a mother’s love, a lover’s gift and a child’s dream!”.... I can see we share the same sentiments on the subject of love - voted up & beautiful.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 7 years ago

      Wow Alberich, I am so happy to have you visit me. I love Gibran too, from the time I was a child. Most people I know, know nothing about his poetry... I am glad to find someone who likes him.

      God is love indeed, the Gospel of John makes that clear and we are the children of God. Yeah you are right love is our very essence.. oh you say it so well Alberich.

      You are so sweet, God bless you too!

    • profile image

      alberich 7 years ago

      You really touch me by your goodness and hopeful aim.

      i just love Gihbran:

      "Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years.." "Love cannot be directed it directs you, if it finds you worthy"

      I believe that love is our inner essence our core of potential, it is what God is made of; it is the "us". We are divided from it because we need to experience it and choose it to really fulfill it.

      Thank You for saving me sofs

      Bless You!

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 7 years ago

      Fucsia, thank you for that touching comment, Yeah you illuminated that aspect of love quiet well I should say. Turn the lights on, turn your love on, there are many around you who need it. Love is the most beautiful part of a human being, it is what brings out the best in us as individuals.

      Without love there is nothing , you summed it up perfectly. Glad that you found it pleasant to read. It doesn't take much to spread love does it?

      I am happy you are with me in this. Thank you Fucsia for your comment and God bless.

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 7 years ago

      I really like the image of love as a candle.

      A candle that lightens ourselves and our road. A candle that illuminates also people who are close to us. Our love, our candle, is not enough to shed light all over, but if all we were able to turn the small and great light of our candle , the whole world would be full of love.

      Love is life, without love there is nothing.

      it was a pleasant reading.

      Thank you

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 7 years ago

      Hi Tim, love is indeed much deeper and more of a spiritual connect, it is what keeps people going and it is what works miracles everyday in the lives of people. Yes, selfless giving is its own reward! Thank you for kind words and comment,it is truly appreciated and very welcome here.

    • timorous profile image

      timorous 7 years ago from Me to You

      Hello sofs. What a lovely piece you've written. You're quite need not be physical. Giving love without expecting anything in return is its' own reward. Another very well written piece sofs. Nice going.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 7 years ago

      Beautiful! your little conclusion PD! We are a flow..and so is love.. we may miss it but love goes on.. I know I have twisted it a bit..

      I appreciate your visit and your comment, Te quiero, shall I say. God bless and take care!

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Very Nice Work Sofs....

      You Asked..... Can You Conclude Love?

      In My Words... I will try.

      'We are each a flow, moving in time silently forward...

      Towards our sea...

      We meet, we love, we miss; in flow, we will always be...

      Te Amo!'

      Take Care... PD.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 7 years ago

      Hi Antoine Van Hove, thank you for your 'Lovely' comment.

      I am moved by your comment as this was an out pouring of my heart for which I sought quotations from great writers to help me in the process. Your comment is truly appreciated and welcomed here. Thank you and God bless!

    • profile image

      Antoine Van Hove 7 years ago

      Well, I am really moved by this. You gave it such a thorrow investigation and thought.

      Nice quotations too.

      Only one word for it: "LOVELY!"