Discussing the concept of the “Love” was never on any of my ‘things to do’ lists… But with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, red hearts, roses, and teddy bears are ruling our online and offline lives again. I sit and wonder why many of us have never been shot by Cupid. Talking strictly in a romantic sense, what exactly is love?
Love and the soul mate theory have captivated the world since the beginning of time. Movies like ‘Titanic’, ‘Serendipity’, ‘Only You’, and song lyrics in every language depict situations where soul mates exist with an unbreakable bond. In this age of science, some ‘theorists’ have come up with a formula that if love can be judged by one’s inner happiness, one can calculate which person can be their ‘soul mate’. Accordingly, this one person should make one absolutely euphoric. After talking to several people from all around the world, I realize that like personal traditions, every person has their own version of “what is love?” I also realize media and literature have played a big role in creating the concept of love and how we feel it should feel.
Claudia from Ghana believes, “Love is the most precious thing that can ever happen to you.” Nina, from the UK praises its endorphin value; “Love is when you can’t stop smiling!” she beams. Sabina takes a more ‘Shakerspearian’ approach, “Love… when thoughts of him encompass you 24/7”. Shuja from Pakistan agreed to a degree – “Love is beautiful.” He went on, “but there is no such thing as love in today’s world. I mean, what we call love is not love. It’s not as pure as it used to be. Nowadays we expect things, and love is all about giving not taking.” He wasn’t a huge fan of everything-with-red-hearts-all-over-the-place either: “Take the example of Valentine’s Day – it means nothing to me; because love needs no Valentine’s Day. Why should there only be Valentine’s Day to celebrate love? Doesn’t matter what day it is, love can be celebrated every day.” Yasemin, from Turkey, shared similar sentiments, “Love is based on physical relationships now. People only imagine they are in love; there is no love like the olden days. Once the physical flame is extinguished both people are bored of each other. Valentine’s Day is something for people who’ve made their relationships last beyond just physical feelings.” Neil from Pakistan defined it as commitment, “Love is someone who makes you look forward to old age.”
I enjoyed Angie’s response the most. She is a young woman from South Africa, and when I asked her, her instant response was, “What is love? Wow, this is actually a tough one!” Following which she continued on a more spiritual note, “I think the word love is often over-used today, with little sincerity.” She felt sure, “when we truly love, we look through the eyes of The Higher Being, and we don’t see the weakness or the faults because in the end they don’t matter; instead we admire the greatness of creation.”
I agree with Angie: Doesn’t love happen as you get fond of a person when you see the “good” in their character? Yes. Not just physical attraction, just natural “good”. Yet I can’t think of any romantic stories featuring two people falling madly in love for each others morality: “I am mesmerized by your principles, Harry” proclaimed the heroine? “You are a woman with such beautiful ethics, Sally” the hero answers back? I am sure, love (and finding love) is important to us all because we search for goodness, no matter where we come from. The importance of love is universally recognized, it’s ‘not always rainbows and butterflies’, and it’s not just to be celebrated one day a year. John Lennon was right when he said, “All you need is Love” – and when we find it, we need to celebrate it everyday!