What is Love?

Char Saint

This past week, I’ve been really focused on understanding (or rather overstanding) what love is. As a result I started to research the true definition of love to see if any human definition could and would suffice. I want to preface this post with saying that we all experience and view love differently. However, there has to be a universal definition that we all as humans can agree on, right?

First and foremost, the English language (as most of you may know) is composed of a bunch of languages but mainly Latin and Greek. In my research, I learned the root meaning of the word love is “phil.”

The Oxford languages defines love as a noun to be “an intense feeling of deep affection” or “a great interest and pleasure in something.” The verb’s definition is to “feel deep affection for (someone)” and “like or enjoy very much.”

After a while, I started to wonder if we’ve ever really experienced love at all. My answer and/or perspective would be that not all of us have experienced love because it’s a chain reaction. Meaning to love, one would first have to be loved. How can someone love if they’ve never been loved? Is love taught or is it learned?

I personally know it’s an experience first but the rest of the world may not agree, so I dug deeper. Then a light bulb hit, and I decided to see what the Good Book aka the English language Bible had to say about love. Did you know that love is mentioned in the King James Version Bible at least 442 times? Did you know it’s also mentioned in the Quran over 190 times? 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” The Quran 3:92 says “Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” 

Can we all agree (from my perspective) that love comes in many forms, both tangible, as well as intangible? From physical love to spiritual love and everything before, between and after, the giver of love and the receiver of love both benefit, yes? Throughout the course of history, love has in fact conquered and destroyed and, there are countless stories, poems, paintings, movies, books, etc. recounting both the effects and affects of love.

In conclusion, I’ve learned, as well as experienced that love is in fact an action as much as it is an emotion. Love is the thing that connects us all as human beings here on earth and love is the difference maker.

My post yesterday was a quote from the late great Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh regarding love and it’s necessary to reiterate his quote for the sole purpose of supporting today’s post. “Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” I’ll take it a step further and say we should love all things. What’s the harm in trying to love the things we may hate? It could only do us good, right? There is in fact true strength in loving many things so imagine the strength to be gained in loving all things.

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