What does love mean? Many people say that the world revolves around money – and the rest of them say it’s love that makes the world spin.
Keeping that in mind, we can confidently say that love is a pretty important thing to humanity. If not the most important.
Love is something universal, known to everyone, yet unexplainable and mysterious. A generally acknowledged contradiction.
Yes, there are many definitions of love, but it’s impossible to say one definition of love is completely and utterly true and right for everyone.
It’s safe to say that love is a lot of things for a lot of people. It can’t be removed from individual experience.
Human beings know many types of love: romantic love, best friend love, family love, pet love, and other million kinds of love.
Ancient Greeks, for example, had seven different words for love!
The English Oxford Dictionary defines love as a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit and deepest interpersonal affection, to the simplest pleasure.
And while that sounds pretty clear at first, I know from my experience, it translates into everyday life in the form of various and somewhat poetic sayings about love we hear all the time.
So, here I wanted to gather some of the most frequent everyday sayings and try to get to the core of their true meaning.
Here’s what love is when it’s not just saying simple I love you, according to… all humankind.
1. Love is unconditional
We hear this phrase a lot, but do we know what it means?
Unconditional love means appreciating someone despite their imperfections – body or personality wise.
It means accepting your loved one as he or she is, without looking to benefit from them.
Unconditional love doesn’t look for something in return. It supports and respects regardless of one’s success, appearance, or social status.
The most important thing is the relationship itself. Just by existing as it is.
It’s a choice to stay with someone no matter the circumstances, it means putting someone else’s needs before your own, prioritizing their happiness.
Some say that unconditional love is simply what we mean by saying love, a true love.
Unconditional love means your partner encourages you to be the best version of yourself.
They don’t shame you for your actions or needs. They don’t judge you for your choices.
Instead, they respond with empathy and care for your well-being.
It also means you can talk freely, without getting uncomfortable.
And even when you get into an argument, you try to understand each other’s points of view and have no hard time forgiving each other.
You want to find a resolution that will make both of you happy.
When you’re loved unconditionally, you’re not afraid to be yourself completely – because there’s nothing to prove, you know you’re not being judged.
There’s no expectation you need to fulfill. You can let your guard down. Even on your bad days!
There’s no mind games or compromises that make you feel bitter. Every decision is respective to your boundaries. You bring out the best in each other.
2. Love is blind
Blind love is often a theme in various types of art.
The lovers are portrayed as blind to their partners’ negative traits and with a tendency to idealize them.
Why do we so often love the idealized image of a person rather than the real one? What keeps us believing in it?
It’s strange to think that in the early stage of romantic relationships people tend to have and maintain what is called positive illusions in regards to their partner.
It’s almost like an attempt to live out their dream, their fantasy seeing only what they perceive as desirable and ignoring the rest.
Other than that, it’s not unusual for people to tend to keep justifying something they invested so much time and put so much attention into, and disregard everything they don’t really like yet won’t admit initially.
After the original infatuation comes the reality check.
Suddenly, a person feels like they misinterpreted their partner qualities, while in reality it’s more likely it was partly their fault for not wanting to see anything but the good qualities.
Oftentimes, romantic love is confused with plain lust, especially in a new relationship.
And while s*xual desire is an important aspect if you’re in for a long-term relationship, still, sometimes it’s just an easily extinguished fire with no real meaning.
3. Love is all you need
While this saying sounds quite sentimental, for many people it’s the truth they live by.
Apart from sounding gushy, if you start thinking about it more thoroughly and really ask yourself why is love all we need, some interesting answers start to appear.
It’s pretty clear that we need love to feel valuable and accepted, which then gives our lives meaning. Love isn’t just sweet words and hugging.
It’s something we need in order to go about our everyday life not feeling devastated and miserable.
We feel devastated and miserable when our needs aren’t met. It affects our quality of life.
The way we do things – the way we eat, sleep, make connections.
It all boils down to love. That’s why it is essential to us.
Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s also an action. It motivates you to do things in life. It gives you purpose.
It makes you commit. There’s nothing people can stick to if there isn’t some aspect of love involved.
4. Love is eternal
Speaking of sentimental sayings, this too is one of them. However, this one has a slightly more philosophical meaning.
Eternal love is love that has no end, obviously.
What that means is, there’s no obstacle that can stop the people who love each other from loving each other.
You might ask yourself if eternal love is really possible, but let me tell you – we all witnessed that long-lasting, Notebook-type, loving relationship at least once.
You know you saw that cute older couple holding hands and thought to yourself, ”Real love exists and it doesn’t get old. I want that kind of love.”
Throughout human history, there were so many proofs of eternal love, so many legends, fairy-tales and real historical stories about undying love, so it’s most likely true.
Maybe it’s not as frequent because it requires a lot of work and sacrifices, but it’s wrong to say it doesn’t exist when it clearly does.
5. Love knows no limits
Every person has their own love language.
For one it’s coming home from work and having dinner prepared for them, for others it’s constant words of appreciation and encouragement or receiving a love song.
However, when you truly love someone or something, all of your personal preferences are put aside; there’s no thing that is off-limits.
Time has shown so many selfless, fascinating, almost impossible things people have done in the name of love.
From risking their lives in extraordinary situations to astonishing sacrifices they’ve made in everyday life, such as dedicating their life to greater a purpose of making the life of others more humane, healthier and happier.
Everyday, people’s lives are changed and saved solely because of love.
No interest could make a person risk their own life for somebody else’s. It can only be love.
And that’s where the mystery of love lies.
6. Love hurts
A slightly darker view on love. After I’ve said everything I’ve said about love and it’s importance in the life of a person, it’s needless to say that not having or missing it hurts like hell.
When it’s good, it’s great; but when it’s bad it’s the worst thing you can imagine.
Pain can cause total eclipse of one’s seemingly healthy mind. There’s so many things that could go wrong.
The person you’re in love with doesn’t love you back. The person who supposedly loves you – abuses you.
The person you loved has passed away. You’re unable to help your loved one while they are suffering from life threatening illness.
Your best friend for life has betrayed you. Your love at first sight turned out to be a high-functioning narcissist. You’ve been cheated on or lied to.
There are so many ways to break a heart. Sometimes it takes just one person – just one relationship to change your views on love forever. For better or worse.
A heart is so fragile that sometimes you don’t even need someone else to break it.
You can do it yourself by putting yourself in situations that cause you discomfort and pain, by not caring for yourself, by putting yourself last and being your own worst enemy.
After the trauma it’s hard to believe in love again. Your perception of love becomes distorted.
You no longer connect love to feelings of safety or happiness but feelings of fear and loss and at some point inevitably ask yourself: What is love, anyway?
7. Love is the meaning of life
As I said before, while we can write off sayings like this as being sentimental, it’s still true that when people are confronting the difficult experiences in life such as dying or surviving some type of trauma they suddenly start asking themselves about the meaning of life.
And according to the experiences of many psychologists around the world, there’s one answer that keeps popping up in the life of many when it comes to searching for the meaning of life, and you might have already guessed what it is – it’s the love.
And so often, everything else we thought was important in life, our jobs, money, recognition, looks… it all steps aside.
For some people that’s the first moment in their life when they actually start living.
Love is the meaning of life because only love has the power of connecting us to our true purpose.
8. Nothing is possible without love
Living in a materialistically inclined world we’re often faced with problems of materialistic nature.
It seems impossible to live life without money, without a job – without some guarantee we’re going to survive. And it’s true that we do need those things to survive.
But behind every action we take, there’s constant need for fulfillment, different from just a physical need.
Many famous and rich people admitted that at the peak of their success they were often feeling completely unhappy and unfulfilled.
In order to feel happy we need to fulfill the need. Something we long for. And that need is love.
It doesn’t have to be obvious. It can be masked as need for attention, need for approval, need for safety… all kinds of things.
But ultimately, it’s always love.
To wrap up this hopefully insightful and useful text, I need to say a few more things.
In today’s world where life is happening on social media, traditional dating is replaced with dating apps, everything that was considered the norm is being put on online, and people in general are becoming more closed off, it’s important to always recognize the true face of love in all its forms.
The meaning of love can’t be found in a book or heard in a class. It can’t be learned.
It can’t be magically understood in just one moment – it’s something we learn about the whole time, it’s something that has to be lived out every day of our lives.
To be in love is the need of the soul, same as food is the need of our body.
It’s important to understand that love doesn’t really need to be defined but rather felt and given.
Feeling loved and giving love always comes from some type of thoughtful action. That’s how love expresses itself – by what we do.
What does love mean? Why does it matter?
To be moved by a song or a sentence is a wonderful thing, and there’s nothing better than seeing your action has made a world a better place – even for just one day – and you don’t need an explanation for that.
After everything I said, I just want to share a few quotes about love, hoping they will inspire you to find love in everything you do:
”I already love in you your beauty, but I am only beginning to love in you that which is eternal and ever precious – your heart, your soul. Beauty one could get to know and fall in love with in one hour and cease to love it as speedily; but the soul one must learn to know. Believe me, nothing on earth is given without labour, even love, the most beautiful and natural of feelings.” – Leo Tolstoy
‘’Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.’’ – Lao Tzu
‘’In the flush of love’s light, we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.’’ – Maya Angelou
‘’The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.’’ – Victor Hugo
‘’I’m not saying that love always takes you to heaven. Your life can become a nightmare. But that said, it is worth taking the risk.’’ – Paulo Coelho
‘’When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.’’
‘’Just in case you have forgotten today: You matter. You are loved. You are worthy. You are magical.’’