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What is Love?

With Valentines Day just around the corner, I thought I’d share my thoughts on Love and what it means to me. Because of course love is not just for Valentine’s Day, nor is it about one kind of love. Love is both an emotion and a feeling and it certainly does not fit into a tick box where ‘one size fits all’. And I think as we get older, we begin to understand more, the true meaning of love.

For me, it’s about the people in my life, the places we go and the memories we make. Valentine’s Day has turned into another giant of a commercial holiday, where we are encouraged to show our love and appreciation for one person with grand gestures and gifts galore. But surely love is about more than one day, more than gifts, more than one person and more than one feeling?

Love can be described in many ways… growth, to evolve, security, vulnerability, patience, respect, friendship, attraction, trust, affection, care, obsession, enduring, the list goes on. Having done a quick search online, the Cambridge dictionary describes love in a very literal sense, but in reality, love can be defined in many ways. And it’s not just about love for your life partner.

At the heart of our search, family love stands unwavering. It’s the nurturing embrace of parents, the playful banter with siblings, and the unspoken understanding between generations. Family love embodies sacrifice, resilience, and unwavering support, serving as a sanctuary in life’s tumultuous seas. It’s a reminder that amidst trials and triumphs, family bonds often endure, offering solace and strength.

And then there’s compassion. Beyond personal relationships, love extends to encompass compassion for humanity. It’s the selfless acts of kindness, the empathetic ear lent to a stranger’s sorrows, and the outstretched hand offered to uplift those in need. Love for humanity transcends boundaries of race, religion, and creed, uniting us in our shared humanity. It’s a call to action, inspiring us to cultivate empathy, advocate for justice, and strive for a world where love serves as the guiding force.

Love has a different meaning for everyone, but “if you want to define love in one sentence, love is one of the most profound emotions humans experience.” There is no single definition for love and I love that! Love for our parents will differ from our love for a sibling or romantic partner, and it will most definitely differ from love for food or even a place!

For me, the ultimate feeling of love has to be for those closest to you, those you have a strong emotional bond with. And that extends beyond our life partners to include friends, family, pets and most importantly ourselves. Self-love is the cornerstone of healthy relationships, as it provides a foundation of acceptance and compassion for ourselves, which naturally extends to others. By cultivating self-love, we develop a deeper understanding of our own needs and boundaries, which enables us to offer genuine love and support to others without sacrificing our own well-being. 

So this Valentines’ Day, while we enjoy and partake in the chocolates and roses and fluffy hearts, let’s take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of love; love reminds us of our connections to life’s tapestry and our capacity for empathy and is the most important gift of all, because without it, who are we?

Without love, I am half humanWithout love, I’m all machineWithout love, there’s nothing doin’I will die without love…

with love janis