Many of us have different definitions of, and experiences with love. We all grew up in different households with different families under different circumstances. But I think we can all agree that love is a positive emotion felt deeply for someone you care about.
- A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
- A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
- Sexual passion or desire.
Not only is love being undervalued in our society, it is being pushed down our list of priorities. It is being passed over for ideologies, for possessions, for financial success – yes, all things worth pursuing, but ultimately meaningless if we don’t have anyone to share them with.
The thing about love is, it is one of the very few things that all of us share, regardless of where we are from, what we do or don’t believe in, or any other circumstances. It binds us together as human beings and is something that every last one of us craves. We just all have different ways of showing it.
But, in order to accept this type of love from anyone else, we first need to have it for ourselves. I don’t mean the cliche, social media-esque self love that is reliant on likes and comments of photos of us. Real self-love is the recognition of our worth, our value, and what we deserve. Only after we recognize that will we develop the ability to set our standards and accept nothing less.
Once we do, though, we can go a step beyond receiving this love into something even better: Being able to give it. The realization that the best kind of happiness is when you are happy because you’ve made someone else happy. The type of love that makes you care less about where you are and what you have – and more about who you’re with.
The type of love that this generation is missing only comes from building real connections with real people. Social media is fantastic and none of you would be reading this article if it didn’t exist, but so many of us are so concerned with projecting a happy life online, that we forget to actually work on building one.
If we want to feel the love that makes life worthwhile, we have to come out from behind the computer screens and smartphones and really experience each other. To separate our normal habits of perpetual replacement of items that become obsolete and clothing that goes out of style, from the way we treat each other. To stop thinking of each other as replaceable and to understand that a world of unique experiences and insights resides in each one of us.
To truly love someone is to see them as an asset in your life. To understand how they make you, and all of your experiences, better. To link your emotions to theirs. To share in their sadness and to lend them your strength during their hard times.
When you love someone – when you really love someone, it’s not a matter of convenience. It’s not only something you do when times are good, it is the very foundation of staying together when times are not as good. When they are bad. When life is tough. That’s when you pull those you love closer, not push them away. It’s the cornerstone of your willingness to fix something you might feel is broken instead of just throwing it away.
That’s the type of love this society is missing. And we need more of it.