In my 27 years of life, I never found myself questioning the definition of love until a few months ago. We all have an idea of what it looks like, what it might feel like, and maybe even how we should give it. But, what is IT?
As an artist, I’m very sensitive and in tune with my feelings. It’s kind of my business to express myself and articulate what I’m feeling through song and text. I spent the past year being forced to take a hard look at myself through repeated illness to figure out what emotional baggage was causing me so much sub-conscious pain. Over the summer, I found myself developing a romantic relationship I didn’t realize I maybe wasn’t ready for, and this absolutely terrified me.
I had spent years of my life growing up on Disney movies and Hollywood romance films, that an idea of love was “fed” to me. I grew up with some rather ridiculous expectations and naturally, deeply emotionally dissatisfied in romantic relationships.
After such a long time, I was finally involved with someone where the relationship had real potential to become something beautiful. BUT of course who the hell wants THAT?! ME! I wanted that my whole life, but yet somehow now that it had actual potential, I became afraid of everything. Things I never considered or that had even crossed my mind before. I realized this wasn’t a pastime, and feelings are no laughing matter!
I had so much anxiety thinking “Am I with this person for honest reasons? Am I giving this person my personal best? Am I bringing this person joy? Am I trying hard enough to learn what makes this person tick so that they feel safe? Am I good enough? Do I love them?……and then finally, what is love though?”. My heart was absolutely shattered, because I really didn’t know, so how could I love anyone at all if I couldn’t define it?
One of my friends comforted me with this quote, and helped me soon realize my heart was in the right place. 1 Corinthians 13, 5-9: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
I had seen social media posts with this quote a dozen times but it never really clicked until my friend applied it to my life. This is the basis of love that we ought to extend to everyone around us regardless of our relationship with them. Naturally the depth and dynamic of it varies according to context (spouse, friend, stranger, etc), but we ARE full of love if we let it take its proper place, and we are to SHARE it daily with all whom we meet.
In context of romantic relations, “love” isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, and there are days you can absolutely hate the person. BUT, what you do and how you treat your partner and relationship in the ebbs and flows are what define your character. Love doesn’t die. It’s within us to share. It gets clouded by things that weigh down our spirits, but love itself doesn’t die. When the light within us feels like it’s dimming, that’s when we need to remember that love is a commitment, love is a decision, and love is a choice, every single day.