What Love Is and Isn't
On Sunday’s Sistah Chat Radio show on Pocono 96.7, we discussed the concept of What Love Is and What Love Isn’t. Originally this topic was scheduled for one show only, but the discussion became so layered that it demanded another visit.
What Does Love Mean?
The term ‘love’ has no finite definition. It can mean something different to each beholder. The dictionary describes love as, “an intense feeling of deep affection, a person or thing that one loves, to feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).”
Okay, well that seems ambiguous enough, however, what exactly is an “intense feeling of deep affection?” and can one truly be in love with a ‘thing’ as mentioned in the definition? Although I will freely admit having an “intense feeling of deep affection” for anything chocolate, arguably that can’t be love but merely gratification. For that matter, I also “love tea” but I can guarantee you I wouldn’t take a bullet for it.
The definition above also indicates having a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone. Wait! That can’t be right, can it? Is love ‘a this or a that’? Can it be compartmentalized as one emotion versus another? I would venture to say that there are many people in a variety of relationships who are experiencing these exact types of feelings, but if asked if they would ever equate the strength of the way they are feeling with love, a good portion would either say no or not be sure. Of course, I have no scientific proof of this, but only a good working set of ears and eyes.
Additionally, if strictly going by general definitions and descriptions then how would someone in a relationship or looking for a partner be able to differentiate between being truly in love as opposed to just having a strong, intense but fleeting infatuation. Many tend to confuse these two emotions and wind up deeply disappointed and hurt. Expectations become shattered and pain takes up permanent residency in the heart, and that's because love is such a complicated emotion. It cannot be simply defined away. It's not fleeting and as much as we may want to dub all that we feel as as love, at the end of the day, it may not be so. –And that is because ‘Love’ is not a thing, but an action, a behavior, and one of the strongest and most inexplicable bonds.
Perhaps some of the confusion comes from the fact that the term love has lost its true meaning, –bantered around so casually as to denote a host of various emotions, but not necessarily the real one. Is it any wonder why people are confused? For example, there’s love of wealth, of power, of leadership. How many times have we said, –I love that dress! I loved the way you decorated your home. I loved his smile. I loved the way her lips pout when she’s mad. I love money. I love the sound of my own voice. I love, I love, and I love…
When used in this way, love sounds silly, trite and convoluted. –Alarmingly indistinguishable from someone who is merely experiencing a strong liking, attraction or perhaps even greed. Sistah Chat Radio Co-host Debbie Smith added that, “Society tells us that love is all about passion, desire, butterflies in the stomach, but that is lust! Lust says here and now as long as I feel it. Love says now and always, especially when I don't feel it!”
Below are a few additional points discussed during our two-week radio show.
Love is Kind and Just
As a ‘force of nature’ love is a complex human emotion, which cannot be dictated or legislated. Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The Four Agreements, explains how people should look within for self-love before venturing outside. He believes it is important to transform your life with self-love before looking to anyone else to make you happy. In his books he writes, “From now on, let every action, every reaction, every thought, and every emotion be based on love. Increase your self-love until the entire dream of your life is transformed from fear and drama to love and joy.”
Real love should not hurt
“Yes, there are misunderstandings and upsets and disappointments in every relationship, but in healthy relationships, they are not a regular happening. Real love and really loving relationships are consistent,” explains Susan J Elliott, JD, M.Ed., a sought-after relationship commentator, motivational speaker, certified grief counselor, and attorney. She goes on to say that, “They are not always easy, but they tend to run smoothly because everyone works at it. Love is what helps you deal with the curves that life throws at you—not what makes things more difficult. Love, real love, is support in a difficult world, not something that makes your life even harder. Real love gives each other the benefit of the doubt without being foolish about it. Pick your battles, and don't fight over everything. Don't be with people who turn everything into an argument or a challenge. It's exhausting and doesn't need to be that way. Healthy people refuse to live that way.”
You Are Only Responsible for Your Half of a Relationship
There are two halves in every relationship, but you are only responsible for your half of the relationship; it is not up to you to control the other half. Respect the other half and there is always going to be peace in that relationship. -Don Miguel Ruiz
Real love demands healthy communication, which includes no name-calling, accusations, manipulations, guilt-trips, blaming and general haranguing. To have healthy and whole relationships, whether between parent and child, spouses, or significant others, it all depends on and stems from employing honest and straightforward communication. Gary Chapman, author, speaker and counselor with more than 35 years of experience under his belt believes that most of the marriages he has encountered in his practice suffer from a severe lack of preparation and a failure in the ability to work with one another as “intimate teammates.” He writes, “Most people spend far more time in preparation for their vocation than they do in preparation for marriage.”
This inability to prepare seems to be common thread and highly problematic. "Many of us spend so much time focusing on finding Mr./Mrs. Right, but we are not "right", “said Debbie Smith. “Until you understand your value and your worth- until you are sure of what you bring to the table, don't worry about finding "the one.” Work on becoming "the one".
You Have to Practice Love
Aaron Balick, a clinician, and cultural theorist believe that couples who face challenges together can build on those experiences and by extension, strengthen their relationship. “Many think that love is about always being on the same page with our partner, feeling romantic and living in harmony. Threats to the experience can feel like obstacles that get in the way of love. But love is as much about the obstacles as it is about the bliss. Love is about accepting differences, recovering from conflict, and tolerating discord.”
Love Can Not be Forced
Sistah Chat also discussed how the feelings particular to love and being in love could come on quickly and unpredictably; and that although these feelings are equally as inherently compassionate and empathetic, try as you might, you still cannot make somebody love you. That doesn’t mean you as a person aren't worthy of being loved, but it does mean that the particular person you are focused on, and looking to be fulfilled by is not available to you.
Honor your soul. Select wisely. Again, 'know your worth.'
Love, –What It Is and What It Isn’t will continue to be one of our ongoing topics. If you should have any questions, please feel free to LIKE and visit us on our Sistah Chat Radio Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SistahChatRadio/
And Don't Forget–
SISTAH CHAT IS ON THE RADIO AIRWAVES Sundays, 9 - 10 am (EST) on Pocono 96.7 FM or listen online at: http://tun.in/seo9E
Thursdays, 7 – 10 pm (EST) at gynesisradio.com
In Peace ~ Be good to one another. Love yourself to love another.
DEBBIE SMITH, Co-host on Sistah Chat Radio and from Meet The Smiths: Edward and Debbie Smith give new meaning to the term Power Couple. With a foundation built on their belief in God, they enthusiastically embrace their mission to help others reach their full potential in life. Edward and Debbie are business partners, friends, and lovers. Together, they are raising three children while building two businesses, leading out Couples Ministry in their church, and growing as Life Navigators. Website: www.meetthesmiths.org FB link: www.facebook.com/MEETTHESMITHS
*All photo credit to DON MIGUEL RUIZ The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. “In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.” Link: https://amzn.com/B005BRS8Z6
Dr. AARON BALICK, author of The Psychodynamics of Social Networking, is a clinician and cultural theorist who applies psychoanalysis to explain modern life. [(The Psychodynamics of Social Networking: Connected-up Instantaneous Culture and the Self)] [Author: Dr. Aaron Balick] published on (November 2013) by Dr. Aaron Balick Link: https://amzn.com/B00Y2RHIVG
SUSAN J. ELLIOTT JD, M.Ed., is a sought-after relationship commentator, motivational speaker, certified grief counselor, and attorney. She began her blog, Getting Past Your Breakup in 2008 and it led to the publication of her first book, Getting Past Your Breakup: How To Turn A Devastating Loss Into The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You ("GPYB")(Da Capo 2009). https://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/susan-j-elliott-jd-medaster
GARY CHAPMAN—“Author, speaker, and counselor--has a passion for people and for helping them form lasting relationships. He is the #1 bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages series and director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. Gary travels the world presenting seminars, and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations.” [Amazon] For more information visit his website at www.5lovelanguages.com.