Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day 2: Love is Not an Emotion

Love is not an emotion. It is a mutual sustainable effort. So, if any of those factors cease to exist, then it's no longer love. Think about it... if it's not mutual, then it's one-sided. Well, then it's not real love, it's infatuation. The second part, sustainable, is a requirement for the existence of real love. Sustain is a loaded word. By definition, it has at least 8 different meanings:

1) to keep in existence, maintain or prolong
2) to provide sustenance (nourishment) for
3) to carry the weight of, support
4) to endure, withstand
5) to comfort or encourage
6) to suffer
7) to uphold the validity of
8) to confirm, corroborate (another word for confirm and support)

It's nearly identical to the Corinthians verse. It's the recipe for all that Love is and should be.

To keep in existence – love is not love unless it continues forever
To provide sustenance – unless both people nourish the love, it dies; and therefore is not & never was love in the first place
To carry the weight of, support – you must be self-LESS and support the other person. This is why love is not an emotion; rather it’s a series of actions. It’s about what you do and say and how you treat the other person in the relationship/friendship. It’s about carrying the other person when they can’t carry themselves. It’s about having their back when others are attacking them. It’s about being there when no one else is, to help them when they stumble
To endure, withstand – because face it, at some point it gets challenging & you just have to get through it. If you give up, it’s not real love
To comfort or encourage – again, like support. Be kind. Sometimes helping someone is tough love, but sometimes, it’s HOLDING THEIR HAND & LETTING THEM CRY. Sometimes, though, it’s pushing them out of the nest to get them to fly. So yes, comfort, but also encourage. There’s nothing wrong with an “I know you can do it” every now and then. Just like there’s nothing wrong with a “I know this sucks, but I’m here for you & I’ll go through this with you.”
To suffer – exactly. When you love someone… REALLY love someone, you better count on suffering at some point. That’s just reality. I won’t even begin to mention all the ways you might feel suffering in a relationship/friendship. You already know, because it’s happened to you… hasn’t it?
To uphold the validity of – be faithful. Be loyal. Prove in all your actions and words that this is a real, strong, and credible relationship
To confirm – prove that it is true
See… no emotion yet. All of these are actions that must be mutual. So, onto the last part, this is effort
Effort means to use energy and to try or attempt. You better believe that you will use energy AT ALL TIMES in a real, loving relationship. Sometimes the energy will come easily, naturally… it might even be fun. Sometimes, it will feel like work. Other times, you’ll be so damn tired that you won’t have the energy, but you at least have to try. You’ll have to try when you don’t want to, when you can’t.

So, there it is: mutual sustainable effort. These words hold so much meaning and power… so much more than a fleeting emotion. Love isn’t something that can ever die. If you truly TRULY love someone, you will NEVER stop loving them. You may not like something they’ve done. You may not like something they’ve done to you. But, if it’s REAL LOVE and not just infatuation, you will NEVER STOP loving them.
It took me this long to figure this out. I haven’t perfectly loved anyone, but now I realize what it means & how to do a better job of truly loving someone unconditionally. You might think I’m full of it. You might cling onto the concept that love is an emotion. But, you won’t convince me. I’m taking my theory and running with it, and I’m not looking back. I won’t say I love someone if I know it’s not a mutual sustainable effort. I won’t throw those words around like pennies in a wishing well. That phrase has a deep meaning to me now. It’s not an emotion anymore. It’s a series of actions over time.

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