Friday, 8 June 2012

A Question of Love


LOVE. A 4-letter word whose profound sense has become cheapened. Over the years the word 'love' has become watered down to a point where it really no longer has much meaning. It has become a word that we know how to use in appropriate moments and at the most convenient of times. People often associate love with a gooey emotional feeling - but feelings are notoriously fickle. So, what exactly is love and what does it mean to love? 

Is it love when your best friend tells you that your husband/wife is having an affair?
Is it love when you say 'no' to a child who wants something that is not good for them?  
Or is it love when a person gives up their job and career to nurse a sick relative, and resents them for it? 

How about the parents who participated in their daughter's death, because they thought the daughter dishonoured the family? Is that concept of family honour an expression of family love?

How about the wife who convinces her husband how much she loves him, yet she can be found in the arms of another man on a regular basis, whilst he waits patiently at home?

How about the man who batters a woman, because of his fear that she might leave him... because he loves her so much?

How about those special occasions when you have a lovely big birthday bash? Listen to some of those speeches, how your friends make a big deal about how they love you and would do anything for you, but where exactly were they when you called for help in the middle of the night, did they even return your call? You hardly get to see them from one year to another but yet they always manage to make the party!

How about the parent who forced her daughter to go to the police to confess her part in the London riots last summer? Was it tough love? A lesson learned in time before her daughter went further down the criminal path? Or a betrayal of parental care?

Oh, how about the dreaded funerals, the ones where everyone is totally in love with the deceased but yet when the deceased was alive, people wouldn't even spit on them if they were on fire, so is it love? 

Is it love when someone is in a vegetative state, being kept alive by a machine, with no hope of recovery, and you choose to switch that machine off? Or would love keep the machine on?


LOVE. Such a little word, designed to be filled with a big meaning, but so often sounding empty and hollow. 

Prince Edward gave up the crown because he loved Mrs Simpson. But shouldn't he have loved his country more instead, and done his duty? What would you have done?

I had an example close to home. My neighbour died of a heart attack, leaving behind a husband who told me that he could not live without the love of his life, his wife of 60 years. He loved her. He died within 3 months of a broken heart.

Upon reflection of all this, what does love mean to you?


46 comments:

  1. Duty, Honesty, Selfishness- all of 'em might be the same thing as Love!

    Most of us holding love with our own definition- but may be its only that feelings that lets you sacrifice your rights (happily and without regret) for the others whether you know 'em or not!

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  2. To care about someone as part of yourself. Which includes yes, saying no and the tough love a parent. Pulling a plug or keeping it plugged, that is generally based on their beliefs and knowledge of what their partner or parent would want, never and easy decision, and yes, about love.
    Honour killing are not about love, but about self pride and vengence.
    I am blessed to have friends who I love and who love me. Would I answer the phone at 2 am and drive three hours to pick them up if they were stranded... in a second. Would they do the same? I have no doubt.
    Caring for a parent.... hmmm. I don't think I could do it. In fact, I know in my family it is not expected. My mother always said that she would want put in a home, she would prefer our memories of her did not include her diaper changes. I got to say I would feel the same if I had kids. Put her in a nice home and visit her often.
    I have heard often of spouses following each other in months in death. So sad.

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    1. Thanks Jamie, and I like your honesty about caring for a parent. There are some good quality care homes around where the staff do really care for people. I suppose the loving thing that you could do, was to find the best place possible and be there during visiting times :).

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  3. I agree with the comments above, that love is about valuing another person and putting them first, but...

    ... but in the real world things can get really messy and throw up the kinds of situations which you mention here. Situations in which we may disagree about what the best interests of another person are.
    To the point where some people would say that the mum who informed on her daughter was acting as an enemy. I agree with Jamie, that she chose to do the hard thing. I believe that was really difficult for her, but, who knows if more parents had the guts to nip things in the bud like that, there would be a few less people languishing in prison, and a lot fewer victims of crime.

    In cases like these an individual can only follow their conscience, and those of us on the sidelines should try not to rush to condemn, as we cannot look into the hearts of others.

    As for all those big speeches about love we hear every day, I say blah-dee-blah-dee-blah I believe a person's love to the extent that I can see it in action.

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    1. Mista, I had a major debate some time ago, about whether it was right or wrong to inform the police if your child had committed a criminal offence . I do feel that if your child has been severley warned by the parents, then why not inform the police.
      At the end of the day, you don't want the police raiding your home, with you also possibly being implicated as well! At least that child would not be able to use your home to stash their goods.
      And yes, Mista, love does sometimes have actions. Thanks for your comment.

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  4. Love is allowing people to be free to determine their own lives and destiny. Any interference in another person's quest for self-determination is a breach of love.

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    1. If you are referring to the case of the mother above, are you so sure that it would really be 'loving' for a parent who is morally responsible for raising their child to allow them to set upon a path that is liable to result in their imprisonment and harming others? I would posit that love sometimes does interfere. Thank you nothingprofound for sharing your view.

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    2. No, I was talking in general, giving a general definition of love. If you love someone, you allow them to be free and learn from their own mistakes. Naturally, you can advise them and set an example with your own life, even openly disapprove of their actions, but you should never try to coerce them or interfere with the choices they make.

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  5. It is not by chance that LOVE is a four letter word. It just open the long parade of many other words in the lexicon that humankind, in its folly to grab the meaning of LIFE, (another one) created to make an anchor for the soaring of the spirit.

    And then again, after creation of the word, humankind devoted itself to soil (other participant of the procession) the meaning with many additions that not only debases its glory, the word's, but introduced a seasoning of degradation as is usual in our process of ramming into the future.

    But there is a way out of this trite place of the way human beings behave. It is the recognition of the real value of each one of these degraded words.

    In the case of LOVE, we ought to acknowledge three different meanings (I'll try to use the advantage of upper and lowercase letters to make the distinction):

    There is LOVE= where only exists the "beloved". This is the most difficult way to "feel" the emotion. This sense makes their owners valueless, LIFE means nothing since LOVE gives everything to who is LOVED. The persons that LOVE, can only give themselves to the being of their LOVE (you cannot LOVE a thing or lifeless object), it is an unattainable target for us poor selfish creatures who cannot think outside our self. Or almost unattainable, if we want to give us a pale hope and believe with the eons there will be a major change in humans.

    Fortunately (or not so, who can say?), there is "love", which in its own way, feels a warm sense toward the "object" loved (mark you the difference with the "beloved"), only in a more pedestrian way, in human beings the "sarko" = flesh is prevalent, the feelings of emotions mixed with the feelings of the body. And the body overrules almost everything. This is a very good solution to the problem of the conservation of the species, but not only that, it comprise most of the situation you mention in your post, Rumpunch, where the body rules hidden into cultural traits, so you have "Emo", "Honor", "Respect", and many others disguising the real self living into these labels.

    But this last is so base that it was needed a third position where Romanticism plays a part, if only to make the too bodily oriented love a tiny bit nearer the real meaning of the word, or we will feel too much the animal in us, so we created "Love", where we can write poetry, praise, and extol the mediocre love into a spiritual feeling that can appease our need of Eternity.

    In my way to look into the Reality Show, we human have created, this explain most of the behavior into which we have buried ourselves.

    But there is HOPE, another parader that may, just may, bring a better general situation if it takes the whole time of the Universe.

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    1. So Untony, just to try and clarify what you are saying here - the influence of the body waters down the intensity of our capacity to love? this seems like what you are saying, perhaps I have misunderstood you. Thanks again for your comments :)

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    2. Yes, Rumpunch, you may say it so, only that this lone definition is as opening peanuts shells, throw the peanuts and keep the shells!:)

      Most of the feelings of love are defined by the body, ours, that of the loved one, or the object of our love, but somehow there are exceptions that push the person into the first division of LOVE (saintly people surely, if they exist) or into the third one of Love. My point is that most of us follow hormone, cultural, and/or historical concepts to define and practice love, even if we do not know or do not want to recognize the fact.

      Is this a too harsh idea of mankind?

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  6. Wowzers! What a post - and how thought provoking!
    "Love is a many splendid thing, love lifts us up where we belong, All you need is love!"
    For me love is a strength of feeling - to love is to feel passionately about someone or something in a positive NOT negative way... love and hate are supposed to be polar opposites but they are both such a strong emotion they easily get confused sometimes.
    Unfortunately 'love' can make us act in strange ways that don't always translate as love to those around us!
    I guess that's why I often like to say "his/her heart was in the right place.."
    or "she/he meant well..."
    Our perceptions morals and beliefs all differ, and so it's tricky not to inflict hurt when such a strength of feeling (i.e love) provokes us into action...
    Awesome rum-punch drunk (you make me think of the Adam Sandler movie Punch-Drunk love - especially after your latest post!)

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    1. Josie
      Thank you so much for your comment, I remember the song 'love lifts us up where we belong' it brings back good memories when love was a good thing.
      Thanks for your input here, not seen the movie 'Punch Drunk' but if I ever come across it, will in no doubt watch it.

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  7. Love, for me is more than just a 'happy' feeling. Not just the emotional lift..Love includes care, concern, encouragement, support or simply respecting the feelings or condition of other people. It reminds me of the golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated! Regards to you friend!

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    1. Very well said Sonny, and thanks for your comments as well.

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  8. My friend,
    I will like to add that it is the most over-used word in the world. Love is PERFECT and we are soooooo imperfect. We have yet to experience the greatness of love because of our imperfection. Good post my dear.

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    1. Yes, love is definitely over-used nowadays, but I would still like to think that we as imperfect beings are still capable of loving other imperfect beings, albeit imperfectly. Thanks Andy.

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  9. I think when you talk about love it is based on a feeling inside and on actions. You know you love your family. Sometimes people do things in this world that are not ordinary and it happens everday. Can that be claimed as love? Not sure. Love may be loosely used sometimes, I admit.

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    1. People do things for all sorts of reasons. Many times to know whether or not it was instigated by love you will need a microscope capable of examining the workings of a human heart. Sadly or perhaps fortunately no such instrument has been discovered to date. I appreciate your comment Musigal1

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  10. When I feel love, I feel (a little more) complete... This is what I told my boyfriend last night.

    Your post is great, because it let people think.

    Also, I want to thank you for your sweet comment on my blog. I love the fact that you (all) take the time and effort to stop by, read my posts and even place a comment! You make my day with doing that!

    Hope to hear soon from you, until then…


    Love,

    Rock 'n Style
    http://www.rocknstyleblog.blogspot.com/
    http://twitter.com/RocknStyle/

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  11. Here's what I'm going to do after reading this:
    Make a list of all my friends. Boil it down to about 5. Ring each of the chosen 5 at 2 in the morning telling them I'm having a crisis. Brace myself to find out if anyone turns up.

    If no-one does, go get a dog - as per your other post :)

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  12. You've just given me a real good laugh, and hope that somebody does show up or just like you said, you could always get a dog 'Best Friend or Worst Enemy'. ha ha ha. Thanks Merlotmelody.

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  13. Wow. You showed a lot of different kinds of 'love.' The word does seem to carry many different meanings. I have to say the way I love my husband is different than they way I love my daughter -- or prime rib, for that matter. ;) Thanks for making me think. What an excellent post. Gotta say, I'll be back!

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  14. Love can be grand or notoriously fickle, and you have interesting examples. The best friend telling you about your spouse having an affair could be advice from a loving friend or could be the friend has selfish motives. Saying “no” to a child who wants something that is not good is parental love. Nursing a sick relative and then resenting it probably began as love but the overwhelming task caused it to become more duty than love. The man battering his wife is not love but control. The parent forcing the daughter to confess to police her part in the London riots was tough love, and the right example for the parent to teach the child. About the funerals where everyone claims to have loved the deceased but totally ignored the person when he/she was alive. I’ve seen that one! False love. Prince Edward giving up his throne to marry Mrs. Simpson? I think he should have loved his country more because it was his office in life. That being said, he would have been miserable if he had not followed his heart, so he made the right decision. Very sad about your neighbor who died of a broken heart 3 months after the love of his life died. That was true love. The same thing happened to my paternal grandparents (both died before I was born). To me love is simply opening your heart.

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    1. JerseyLil
      I just love the way you explained each point. Thanks for your input.

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  15. We have different perception about love. Well for me, it's not just a feeling..It's more of concern and care. You try extend your time and effort and your life to reach out to your loved ones. Being there for them especially when they need you. Trying to open your world, your heart for them.

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    1. That is a nice perception. Thanks Ric/Life N Canvas

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  16. Interesting post :) about love. Love, hmmmm, such a bad experience but good as well as long as it will linger forever and true.

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  17. I remember my post "So Many Questions" when I read this post of yours because of the many questions you listed down. Although, mine was about freedom. Love and Freedom could be related, though. And inseparable.

    My "guideline" for love is the golden rule: do unto others what you want others to do unto you. It's selflessness. I got to say that all of us, when it comes to love, are work in progress. Yes, I'm work in progress. :D

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  18. I like that joan, 'doing unto others.....'. I too am a work in progress.

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  19. I believe a quote from David Icke pretty much says it all;
    "A gift of truth is the gift of love."

    I believe if we create another reality, based on love and not fear we are all knowing and we are all possibility. If we operate from within our hearts and not our minds our reality would be vastly different from what it is now.

    We have forgotten that we are the dream and the dreamer, and the dream has taken over, the dream has lead us to believe that we are a part. We think in terms of parts, not whole. We think in terms of 'little me' not infinite consciousness, and therefore we got caught in an illusory trap of division.

    Infinite love is the only truth, everything else is an illusion.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment Joachim.

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  20. Love is the most difficult concept. So often, what we do, we attribute to love when we really should be attributing it to selfishness. Pure love is the fountain of youth. Now, off to hunt for it again...

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  21. Ok don't hate me you already know what I think about romantic love. Love as a whole is doing things for others not because you have to but because you want to. It's taking the time to get to know someone who isn't going to help you up the ladder of success, finding the time to talk to someone who might feel bottled up inside. Love is about actions, giving someone part of your inheritance because they were there for you or waking up in the middle of the night to drive a truck to move a friend out of an abusive home. I know I am going on and on but frankly the only love that evades me is the mushy gushy romantic one. Really good post

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  22. Can't fault you on what you have said here. The Hollywood hype for me is massively misleading. Love in its essence is unselfishness in action. Kind of what you've outlined here. Love this comment, many thanks for posting.

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  23. thought-provoking......Love is 1Cor 13:4-10

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    1. Thanks Lady Womble. I'll take a look at that.

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  24. I dont know how exactly can anybody define love. I think it differs from person to person and relation to relation. Even I fail to understand it exactly at times. Many a times what you see puts the great impact on your mind and thats how u start thinking and looking at that thing.. and in case of love, movies are great impact! but when it comes to real life, most of those movie emotions and logics fail and since our expectation is very high(thanx to same source :p ) we fail in the relationships.
    Love is selflessness and at the same time very selfish!!
    Love is happiness and at the same time painful!!

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    1. Thanks Esabella. I love those paradoxical statements you ended your comment with. So bitter sweet...and there's another paradox.

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  25. Love is all about giving--the generosity that springs from appreciating the goodness of a person or a thing. Anyone else can give without loving, but to love without giving is impossible.

    A lot of people have mistakenly understood infatuation as love. But love relates to the whole person; infatuation focuses on physical attraction. Love is unconditional, kind, patient, long-suffering, and can wait; infatuation is selfish, demanding, and wants it all now.

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  26. Love is the giving out of your own self to the other person unconditionally. You can give without loving, but to love without giving--never.

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