What Exactly Is Love?
By Elle Cameron for BounceBack.com
The quote "You complete me" is an all-too-familiar line delivered by Tom Cruise in the 90's romantic flick Jerry Maguire. For the pure and utter hopeless romantic, and for those yearning to know what love feels like, this line gives a snapshot of what love is: as something beautiful or magical. And at the same time, something rooted in dependence. It's a line which appeals to those who've actually been in love. Contrarily, for those of us who have never been in love, the line is a tease - a fantasy yet to be fulfilled.
Love is something one strives for and pursues. It is understood to be a necessary component to life, not unlike having a career or a family. People get hurt, torn and battered in the throes of love. Whatever the downside to love, people always go back, more determined to find it.
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But for those of us who have never been in love, there's a curiosity which lingers. We're constantly reminded how intriguing love is through media. Conversely, even if you don't own a TV you could still see a couple displaying affection on any public street. So what are we, who are "love deficient," supposed to do? The reality is that although we may have never been in love in a romantic sense, we still know love and characteristics thereof.
Lovesickness is accepted as a state of being, which is the result of a failed relationship, or one which hangs in the balance. There is the belief that those who are, or have been, in love know lovesickness exclusively.
On the contrary, being lovesick can occur as a result of yearning for love. For example, I've never been in love, but if I listen to certain songs, some endearing treat or a screaming lamentation from a bruised lover, I become lovesick. I want to feel such glee, or rage, or anger at my soul mate. And while the latter is such a perverse notion, as to desire hurt, my contention is that I feel what the singer is saying; I know love, albeit, in this sense, from afar. The allure of love alone, to feel so deeply for another, the notion of a layered human connection is absolutely appealing.
While I haven't been in love, I know love because I've been loved. Familial and phileo love are my primary sources. Plainly, my family loves me and my friends love me. Home-cooked dinners made from my grandmother's heart show love. A friend's intently listening ear shows love. But there's something even sweeter, that is, agape love. Agape love is a deeper form of love other than that of romantic love. Agape is all-encompassing, as it is the most inclusive form of love, more layered than emotion, and tethered to spirituality and beingness.
Related: Learn to Love Yourself Before You Can Love Another
For instance, when I pray or meditate, I can experience true euphoria and true love, something that is indescribable, perhaps even akin to romantic love's orgasm. I can empathize with another, while not being terribly distracted from my own life or individuality.
So for those of us who have never been in love, like me, there's no need to feel sorry for, or even pity, us. By not being in love, although offering moments of lovesickness, or even envy towards those in love, I'm allowed to love everyone. I don't have to worry about lending all of my time and affection to just one person. I contend that we who have never been in love know love, as we remain connected to others and self-appreciative.
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Elle Cameron is a professional writer based out of the greater New York City Area. Ella holds a Bachelor of Arts in print communications from Arcadia University and can write expansively on a wide range of topics.