The responses were quite phenomenal:
- A four-year-old boy said, “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know your name is safe in their mouth.”
- A seven-year-old girl answered the question with, “Love is when you tell a guy that you like his shirt and then he wears it everyday.”
- Another seven-year-old girl answered, “When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.”
If you look up “love” in the dictionary, you might find something to the effect of, “To feel tender affection for somebody,” or, “to like something strongly.” Love is one of those indefinable words, partly because everyone feels love in different ways. But it’s human nature to want to name and define things, so we each make up our own definitions for those indefinable words.
"Love is one of those indefinable words, partly because everyone feels love in different ways."
“Love” and “lust” are often confused for the same feeling, though love is stronger than Lust, thusly there needs to be a clear distinction. For me, the definition of love includes the words “acceptance”, “compromise”, and “respect.” However, love cannot be defined by just these three words, so a situational description must also be included in order to define the word.
If you love someone, I feel that should mean that you accept them completely. You don’t judge them by the clothes they wear, the books they read, the music the listen to, or by the movies they watch. Instead, judgment is completely overlooked. You know the person’s little quirks, their flaws, yet you still want to be with them.
You acknowledge any differences the two of you may have, that there may be times when arguments will arise, but are confident you can weather those times. You know that being with that person may not always be complete bliss, but you are unperturbed by this knowledge and are willing to brave whatever may come.
Acceptance is closely related to compromise. Here’s a common example using both:
A boyfriend and a girlfriend from high school want to keep their relationship going, but each wants to attend a different college than the other. They know that their plans for the future will lead them back to the same place in a matter of a few short years, and they each know that the other’s choice of college will best help them achieve their dream. Both the boy and the girl have accepted each other’s decision and don’t want to prevent the other from reaching their goals. Furthermore, the couple has compromised. They know they won’t be able to see each other everyday, as before, but they will still talk everyday. It may not seem as great, but it will have to do. They have put each other before their own wishes and desires.
Continuing with the aforementioned example, the word “trust” can be greatly applied. The long-distance relationship the couple has agreed to keep up only works if they trust each other. They believe that the other person is completely honest with them about everything. They trust the other person will not cheat on them. And they trust that the other person will return to them.
All of this is important in any relationship, long-distance or not. What is a relationship without love? And what is love without trust, acceptance, and compromise?
Unfortunately, love cannot possibly be defined so simply using only three words; I feel they account for only 35% of the definition. Is it not possible that those same three words can be used to define friendship? How do we differentiate love from friendship then?
The other 65% of the definition of “love” comes from the feelings you get at the moment of realization (which is why the definition is so varied).
That moment is completely unique to each individual. For me, this moment was less than a year ago as I danced with my best guy friend. As the dance ended, there was a brief moment, no longer than three seconds, when all time seemed to stop. I was fully aware of my surroundings, yet I was completely oblivious to them at the same time. There was deafening sound screaming about me, yet I heard nothing. There was a complete rush of emotions.
I realized that I had been fighting off feelings for my friend after all this time, but I couldn’t allow myself to ruin our friendship. Besides, I knew we were going to be living a few hundred miles away from each other soon. I realized that he was one of the most important people in my life, that his friendship had changed me for the better. And I knew that I trusted him more than most people in my life. All at once, I was elated, torn, devastated and confused.
In those prolonged, bittersweet three seconds of complete chaos, I knew my life had been forever changed. I knew that I’d do anything for him, that I trusted him with my life, and that I wanted to always have him in my life. But at the same time, I knew that I could hold true to my beliefs and dreams; I could still hold true to myself.
"Love is trusting someone unconditionally."Love is what we make it out to be. It may be knowing that our name is safe in someone else’s mouth. It may be wearing the same shirt because someone important to us said they liked it (love makes us do crazy things). And it may make us flutter our lashes and have stars in our eyes. It definitely is having a deep affection for someone else, but it’s so much more (especially since lust can be described in much the same way).
Love is trusting someone unconditionally. Love is making compromises in order to be together and show someone how much they mean to you. Love is accepting someone wholeheartedly for who they are, accepting their dreams and supporting them. Love is that exact moment that changes your world for life, when it seems as if the air was sucked from the room and the Universe is simultaneously expanding and contracting. Love, unlike lust, will not break when pressure is applied.