Love: The Longest Three Seconds of Your Life

Last year, I received a forwarded email that asked a group of little kids to define “love”.

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).
Gogus olculeri

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.

Love: The Longest Three Seconds of Your Life
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Most Helpful Girl

  • lovely_girl
    I teared up reading this article. I've been wondering a lot lately is what I feel for this guy love...and thanks to this article I was able to answer myself. But there's still a mystery to "Love" can you know if the person you're in love with is in love with you...would they understand and feel the same feelings I felt for me just by reading this article. Would they feel confused happy sad depressed angry and excited at the same time when they are in the my presence. Sadly I will never know
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Guy

  • properplay
    Scientifically speaking our description's of love are either

    - no different than an addiction to something (like a desire to have a person love you)

    - when your attention is very extroverted (love for the moment, like you described in your writing)

    it's that simple
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • totallychaotic
    I just want to thank all the people who've commented on this over the past month (almost two)! You have no idea how much I appreciate it! Honestly, I am so happy that y'all agree. And I'm thrilled that y'all think it was written so well! I'm also very much appreciative of all the people who've only read this article!
  • 20Questions
    This is a great article. Let me just add the Bible's definition of Love:

    'Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.'
  • tango
    You really understand the mystery of the feeling... I had this moment of reminiscence in my life: In that exact moment, everything changed, I changed. I am not the same man before... You defined it very well... Thank you...
  • monica7777
    Beautiful, I'm really thankful you wrote this. I recently told someone that I loved them but then I realized there where so many types of love. Every since I had been looking up love in dictionarys and anything else I could get my hands on to try to explain it. Than I realized something He may have pushed me away, but it's not that that hurts me- it's the fact that I might have hurt him that hurts me. Then I realized I would do anything to make him laugh, smile, even chuckle. He's my sunshine =)
  • kitkat86
    Great article! I love your definition of love...and yet there is still so much more that can be said. Love can be all emotions combined, however completely separated from any emotion known.

    Something I always say about love, between a man and a woman that is, would be the fact that sometimes love is often mistaken for hate. These two emotions are so alike and passionate that sometime they intertwine and get confused for one another. I say that cause I'm proof, and so many others I know. Kudos!
  • Standingpretty
    I liked everything about this article except the title. I am glad the article turned out differently thasn I expected based on the title.
  • Fitzroy
    This made me gleefully giggle out loud ! Thanks :))
  • properplay
    These little kids say that sh*t because they hear it on t.v.
  • SmartieGrrl89
    Wow, this was really really good!!!!! You defined love so well, and yet it was still ambiguous and allows people to add or subtract what they want.
  • StrawberryLovey
    Might I say, this is beautifully written. ^^ I agree completely on your definition of love and how it can depend on an indiviual.
  • NMMan
    Amazing article, very true and brilliantly done.
  • tearsofblood91
    I loved the kids answers.
  • saturdayx
    Very eloquent. Kudos, kudos, kudos.
  • Olesya
    loved kids' responces:))