The Most Contentious Word in Language
The Most Contentious Word in Language
By Tony DeLorger © 2011
The word love imbues our hearts with a warming glow, our understanding more of romance than anything else. It is this overwhelming feeling of impassioned surrender that can motivate our lives and actions to sad and destructive outcomes. Love in itself is the most misunderstood word in our language; used as a weapon for blackmail, any cause and sometimes the reason for some of life’s most heinous crimes. So what are we talking about when we so flippantly refer to love? What are we saying, understanding about this overused and socially diminished expression?
In reality, the word has different meanings for each one of us. The social conditioning of love is generally represented by the Hollywood version, the romantic notions of falling in love and giving meaning to life. This is of course an initial attraction and infatuation based on response to pheromones and our hormonal drive to find a suitable mate. Lust them becomes the substitute for love, the force behind these emotions.
But as we know lust and infatuation eventually subsides, and then what do we have? As far as a relationship is concerned we may have nothing at all. That is why friendship is the foundation of any love. Without that intimate understanding and support of one another, there is no basis with which to move forward.
Love to me, in general terms, is a true and abiding acceptance of another human being for whom they are; their positive and negative traits, flaws and attributes known and understood. It is a commitment to better their lives for you being a part of it. Love to me is a sacrifice, placing someone before yourself and that consideration the basis in the balance of a harmonious relationship based on compassion and understanding.
On that basis, the fairytale seems rather wanting and superficial. ‘I love you’ now days, is more a plea for sexual gratification than anything more. To me love is something that develops as we become more intimate with someone, know and understand their problems, limitations and realise the compassion and kindness in their heart. Once we connect to a person on that basis and have a physical attraction and favourable expression of it, we are then open for love to develop. How successful a loving relationship becomes is dependant on the capacity of both parties to compromise for the good of the relationship.
We are all different in character, in perspective and how we assimilate what happens in the world and to us personally. So it is not easy to preserve a loving relationship and for love to continue to flourish. Thinking similarly and having the same value systems helps a great deal, but in the end flexibility is the key to maintenance.
Love in its perfect expression is often more about consideration and support rather than any notion of romance. Romance and that overwhelming emotional experience comes because of the mundane considerations in life, like helping with the wash up, doing the vacuuming or opening a door for one another. The sexual expression of love is even more complex, unlike many men realise.
The needs of women and men are vastly separated and need learning on both parts. Growing love can be enhanced with an uninhibited and harmonious sex life, but it can also be undermined by a selfish sex life. In other words without consideration on both sides, sex can negatively complicate a relationship to the point of dissolution. Sex in itself, carries certain expectations of fulfilment that if not met can create disharmony.
Love is a broad term, but in its most meaningful expression can transport anyone in a spiritual sense to the greatest heights of human emotion and understanding. The devotion and love of a child, of an animal and nature in general is yet another dimension of this misrepresented word. In short, love is the greatest expression of purpose that we can attain in life. It can define us as human beings and enhance life to unexpected ends. But to surrender to it requires understanding and sacrifice, as unexpected as it can come; it can be lost just as quickly. Like a lasting edifice, love needs foundation, each layer built soundly and with care to sustain the heights of possibility.
Love, to be achieved, must be understood and surrendered to, its purity an aspiration and the result of selfless acts.