Love seems to be elusive. Little do we know it stands right beside us, waiting for us to give it space in our heart’s boat. If you struggle to understand the value of love, read this post to recognise the true value of love, love as a value in life and values about love. Come, take a trip to the island of life, meet love.
What is more important? To value what you have or to value what you don’t have? What is the value of love in your life? Think about it for a moment. Gratitude is valuing what you have, and ambition is valuing what you may or may not have in the future. If you drown out the voice of gratitude amidst the roar of ambition, all you will be left with is a great deal of noise and no music. Why? Because often ambitions are endless, they are manifold and they are not cohesive, whereas gratitude is the collective response to everything life has given you, everything you already have.
Long, long ago, on an island, lived a group of emotions, both positive and negative. Their names were Pleasure, Sorrow, Grief, Insecurity, Anger, Fear, Compassion, Humility, and Gratitude. That was not all, though. The island was inhabited by other entities that governed a higher place in society. They were Ego, Wealth and Time. Love was a resident too, but it mostly lived with others; it never held onto anything, it owned nothing, it was mellow, kind and soft. All of the above were tenants, living in houses belonging to the humans on the island.
With glaciers melting and the sea level rising, the island was gradually sinking. It was clear that before long, it would disappear. The residents called an urgent meeting and concluded it was time to leave the island. They decided everyone was responsible for making their own arrangements. They got to the task at hand.
Love thought differently, though. It did not want to abandon an island that had sheltered it for so long. It wanted to wait until the last moment; it was hopeful that some might stay behind. For Love, it was not a matter of trade, or give-and-take, it was more a question of integrity and promise. The island, however, was fast losing its dry ground to the obdurate ocean.
The humans were the first to leave the island. Some of the negative emotions like Sorrow, Grief and Insecurity, left with them. Love had no boat of its own. It looked expectantly at the other emotions on the ship and pleaded, “Please, can I board your ship?” The humans didn’t even respond. They were too busy fighting amongst themselves.
“We’ve latched on to the humans ourselves,” the emotions spoke in unison. “We have no place for you here.”
Just then, Love saw Ego sailing his boat made of steel. It looked rather strong and heavy, but sturdy.
“Can I join you?” Love asked, “I take up very little space.”
“No!” Ego yelled. “Anger and Fear have taken the other two places I had on my boat. Besides, I’ve only met you occasionally whereas they are my bosom friends. I can’t let them go.”
The water was rising fast, and at a short distance, Love saw a magnificent yacht. It was owned by Wealth.
“Can you please let me on board?” asked Love.
“I’m sorry but I already have Pleasure,” Wealth responded, “I can’t part company with him.”
Love looked at the dismal state all around; nobody understood the value of love. Just then a voice called out, “Come, Love, come. Hop in.”
As soon as Love got into the boat, it saw Compassion, Humility and Gratitude exuding a brilliant radiance. They were on board already. Finally, somebody understood the value of Love, and so Love thanked them.
“Oh, it’s not our boat,” Gratitude said, “you need not thank us.”
“Whose boat is it then?” Love was surprised. “Who has saved me?”
“It belongs to Time,” Compassion answered.
“But, I was worthless in everyone else’s eyes. Why has Time saved my life?”
“You see, Love,” spoke Humility, “…Time alone knows your real value.”
If you re-read and reflect on it, this anecdote contains the wisdom of life. In our fast-paced world, you can be so focused on getting to the destination, in crossing the finish line, that priceless things appear worthless. The worth of anything is not determined by its price, but by its value.
That brings us to the question – What is the value of love?
Imagine you sacrificed your health and your family to make ten million dollars faster than anybody you know. The price of that sacrifice maybe ten million, but what about the value of that ten million? Is it worth the price, the sacrifice?
When gratitude fuels your ambition, it becomes an effortless journey, but when ambition drives gratitude, a sense of lacking never really leaves you. When you have compassion, gratitude and humility, what you have is love indeed. These three are the primary constituents of love. Every other variation may just be attachment or an obsession.
It is when we lose what we have, when time separates us from what we take for granted that we really understand the value of what we had and the value of love. You can hear a short discourse on gratitude, here.
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Let us look at the value of love a bit deeper and understand the meaning of love in our lives.
What is the true value of love in your life?
Love is not just a feel-good feeling; that’s easy to have for the one who cares about you. To want someone desperately is not love either. Everyone wants a loving partner. To express that you love the other person is not love. Even a parrot can rant for hours. No doubt, these feelings, desires, and words also make up love. But, these are more like symptoms of love. For, love, in its own right, sits way above all these.
The only true way to see the depth of anyone’s love is to see their behavior. Love is behavior. It’s an attitude. If our behavior towards the other person does not display sincerity, understanding, empathy and care, it is not love. Maybe pseudo-love at the most. Read more here.
What are the values of love?
Value of love vs. happiness
I don’t think there’s anymore to happiness than noble actions, gratitude and contentment. No doubt, happiness is not merely an emotion but a state of being. Above all though, happiness is an attitude. When you make it a point to live your life positively, to appreciate the goodness of your own life without measuring it against the lives of itchy bums, your world will light up with the radiance of a thousand suns.
Read more here.
Value of love vs. commitment
Commitment is how two people make a relationship work. Commitment is how an entrepreneur makes her dream come true. Commitment is what makes you think outside the box, it is how you find your passion. Without this fundamental attribute, even learning is not possible, let alone success or mastery. When a sadhak gets up every morning and does his sadhana, that’s commitment. When you go on to keep your resolutions, when an athlete or a budding musician routinely puts in 8-10 hrs every day, that’s commitment.
And, you know what’s fundamental to staying committed? Forget passion and all that. It’s just not being lazy. Commitment comes from not listening to the mind or people that discourage you from walking the road that leads to your goal. If you are committed, intelligence, wisdom, success, and fulfillment will walk into your life as the alpha male lion saunters into its pride. Read more here.
Saying I love you vs. True Value of love
In my mind, love has many shades. For example, when you first email a social acquaintance, you are formal. You will end with regards (sometimes, warm). As you shed the formalities, you start ending with “cheers” etc.
With time when you start trusting the person and feel closer, your emails now end with “love”, followed by “lots of love”. Sometimes, it stops there. But, if you experience that you actually like the person and they have won your trust, “lots of love” gradually changes to “love ya” or something similar. This is almost a cautious declaration and confession because you know that being in love is synonymous with being vulnerable. If the tête-à-tête continues and you find the other person not just likeable but lovable too, you start slipping in “love you for this” or “love you for that” here and there.
There’s a lot of testing-the-water going on behind the scenes. Ah… the earthlings and their schemes. Now, if the other person starts reciprocating, you sign off your emails with “love you” eventually giving way to the more definitive “I love you.” From this moment on, the love between two people is a personal bond and it’ll ebb and flow with the vicissitudes of time. Read more here.
How to value the person who loves you?
To love the other person the way he or she likes to be loved is love. All else is merely an illusion of love, quasi love at the most. Feed them what they like to eat.
The simple principle of long-lasting relationships: to love them the way they want to be loved and not how you think they should be loved. Love is not about sculpting the other person to an image of perfection you hold in your head. There’s a better term for that — foolishness. To love, on the other hand, is making allowances for asymmetry and imperfections. It is a reasonable acceptance of human flaws and weaknesses. After all, in our imperfections lies the sublime emotion of love like the unfound diamond in a raven mine. Read more here.
What is the value of love in our life when the person we love doesn't love us back?
When you’ve tried everything you can think of, and when you’ve given it your best shot and you are still not loved back, at that time, you’ve three choices:
a. Change yourself
b. Change the other person
c. Change the person
Sometimes, it’s just about if you are willing to forget, if you are willing to overlook, sometimes, this is all it takes. Life is mostly about relationships, professional, personal, interpersonal. The first relationship you have is with yourself. Respect and value it. Don’t torture yourself. People with high self-esteem possess one common trait: they value themselves, they value what they have to offer and they consider themselves worthy of love. They believe it. Read more here.
Why is love an important value?
In the words of C.S. Lewis, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” It’s impossible to be completely invulnerable in love. And, this vulnerability is what makes most relationships challenging (and rewarding). Read more here.