What is love? We’ve heard this adage question a million times already. Though we feel it, we cannot really put love into words, and often times we misuse it to justify our feelings or the lack of it. We admit that we love someone or something before we even feel and deliver it in its purest sense, without thoughts and expectations of reciprocation, either in deeds, words or material things from our object of love. Such is defined as suggestion, which actually works lest we believe it as true.
In Plato’s the Symposium, one of its Greek narrators Eryximachus said that “love directs everything that occurs”. He stated this under the argument that love occurs throughout the universe. This statement I completely accept as without love there is no harmony. But let’s define love in its abstract realm so we understand better ourselves, our object of love, our feelings, and our actions.
According to Webster, “love is a number of emotions related to a sense of strong affection and attachment. It can refer to a variety of different feelings, states and attitude, ranging from generic pleasure to intense interpersonal attraction.” We feel this strongly when we automatically extend utter care and devotion to whom we are with or what we have and do.
One kind of love is known as Impersonal Love. It covers the idea that a person can love an animal, object, principle or goal if one is deeply committed to it. It applies to taking great care of our pets; to maintaining our valuables in top condition; to adhering and living up to our principle; and to accomplishing our goal against all odds. For instance, our attitude towards work; whatever kind of job that is laid upon us is to be loved no matter what because it involves us, amid the values and principles that govern us. If we expect a fun working environment or a high-paying salary, then we must put love in every task that we take and flourish from it. When we realize how good it is to love our job, we feel less burdened of our daily routines and we take pride in the result that we have created. Therefore it also shows that love begets success.
Another example of impersonal love is the way we maintain the look and performance of our car. We know that a dented car is not nice to look at. In fact it reflects the ineptitude of its owner. If one loves his or her car, then one should drive defensively and in moderate speed in order to avoid accidents, aside from registering the car for regular check-ups and maintenance.
The other kind is called Interpersonal Love, which refers to love between human beings. It exists among family members, friends and couples who experience intimacy, commitment and passion with one another. When we love someone, we share confidences and intimate details of our personal lives. We live up to their expectation of permanency without the wicked desire of hurting them to feed our own ego. Yet with our spouses, we feel lust for the simple pleasure of mating or of procreation.
We can say that we love our parents, siblings and spouse when we conform to this definition of interpersonal love. We destroy them and ourselves when we go against this. We make it a point not to break our promises; We stay faithful to our love, and in return we live at peace with ourselves and with others.
Love is not bought. It cannot be coursed through material things in order to show that we love. For if such becomes the foundation then our succeeding generation will base love on toys, jewelry, money or on merely acquiring valuable objects for the sake of desire. This cannot be love because it is temporary.
A thing so beautiful as love should not fade away. Husband and wives may go through divorce and end up being friends, then no love is lost. It is normal for brothers and sisters to fight with each other, but because of love they end up making up.
Impersonal and interpersonal love thrives among people and things. It is basically founded on our love for ourselves. When we know how to love ourselves by taking care of ourselves, our deeds and words, then we know how to share the great feeling that love gives for others. That’s the only time we can say that we really know what love is all about.