“Love is a many splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love.” “Oh please don’t start that again” ~ Moulin Rouge
Or, as defined by my dictionary:
Love (vb): to have a great affection for a person or thing, to have a passionate desire for someone, to like (to do something) very much
Many years ago I got a copy of Lazy Ways To Make A Living by Abigail Bosanko free with a magazine. It’s a fairly enjoyable piece of “chick lit” though its appeal is greatly enhanced for me by the fact it is set in Edinburgh, which is one of my favourite cities (the others being London & Monte Carlo, if you were wondering). Anyway, the heroine gets involved with a guy who has had cause to look up love in the dictionary to find out what it means. Now, I’m clearly no relationship expert but if someone has to look up love to find out what it is then they’re probably not the most ideal relationship material. Yes, I know, I looked up love for this piece. Don’t go on about it, ok?
Anyway, look at the definition. It doesn’t really encompass the great swathes of emotions that we expect, does it? What about devotion and adoration and the sacrifice of self for others? It seems it’s quite tricky to define love, as many of us think of it, without using the word ‘love’ itself.
There’s all different tyoes of love. The Ancient Greeks had four distinct types which seems a much sensible way to go about it. The way we love our friends, family, lovers, pets are all different types of love. I think we’ve missed a trick with the English language on this one. I’m not entirely sure what words we could use but we could come up with some between us, surely?
Then, of course, there’s that old favourite of unrequited love. I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there. Also known as having a crush, falling in love with the wrong person, pining etc. I got into a lot of conversation about this much earlier in the year. It’s one of those areas that I think is well summed up with this line: “…longing in the abstact, in the theoretical, can be quite as painful as longing in the particular.” (From Girl From The South by Joanna Trollope). I think it’s perfectly easy to pine for love without there being a specific object of that attention. Equally, in those situations I believe we often express our desires of what we want for ourselves onto other people or situations or things.
Personally I have an incredibly romantic soul coupled with a deeply guarded and cynical nature. I’d like to say that Tennyson was talking rubbish when he wrote “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all” but I can’t. The ability to be stirred by that level of emotion is a wonderful thing. I’d take it, along with the pain and heartache over not feeling, any day of the week.
To finish, the best thing I learnt about love was in a novel I read in my late teens. Sadly, I can’t remember the title, author or indeed plot so if the following rings any bells with anyone please let me know! Anyway, the main character realises that when we say “I love you” what we’re really doing is asking “Do you love me?”. This struck such a deep chord with me and I made a resolution that, in my relationships, I would only ever tell someone I loved them when I knew within my heart that it was ok if they said nothing in return. It isn’t terribly easy and I’m sure I haven’t always done it but to be able to tell someone you love them free from any expectation of their response is actually rather joyous. I look forward to being in that place again in the future.
And so, leaving you with that thought to ponder on, I wish you all health, happiness, and lots of love for 2012.