Continuing from my last post, I share with you the four pillars, four constituents, of love. If you see what I mean, I promise that by the time you finish reading this post, you’ll have a new perspective on love. What is love? Just having feelings for another person, or wanting someone real bad is not always love; it may be, but generally, it isn’t.
Think of love as an object for a moment, an entity that is made up of four elements. You bring them together and love appears miraculously. In the absence of the primary constituents, what you experience may be a strong attraction. It may be a crush, infatuation or something; it is anything but love. Let me start with an anecdote:
A man comes home in the evening to see his children still in school uniform, playing barefoot in the street. He enters his home and finds their school bags, socks and shoes lying in the living room. Further in he goes and sees the dining table littered with open bottles of peanut butter and jam, dirty plates and bread crumbs. To his right is the sink with a stack of dishes. Dinner isn’t ready, and the whole kitchen is one big mess.
Shocked and intrigued, he goes to his bedroom and finds the bed undone, his wet towel from the morning is still lying on the floor, and his wife, still in her night suit, is reading a book.
“What happened?” he exclaims “The house looks as if a ghost did the rounds today.”
“Oh, that,” she says casually. “You know how you always ask what I do sitting at home all day? Well, whatever it is that I do, today, I didn’t do it.”
In our sense of self-importance, it is easy to underestimate, even overlook, the contribution of other people. Your work may be different, it may even be harder but it doesn’t mean it’s more important. Love is about seeing the world through the eyes of the other person. This leads me to spell out the four factors of love, as follows:
When two people are living together, there are going to be trying times, differences of opinions, disagreements and all. But, at that time, if you choose to be respectful of the other person and not be sarcastic or contemptuous, your relationship will remain intact. Even if you don’t agree, still, be respectful. It’s worth it.
Each time you shoot words of anger, every time you belittle the other person or their contribution, if you mock them, a great blow is delivered on the delicate flower of love. It’s okay to disagree, it’s even okay to have arguments sometimes, but it’s not okay to shout and it’s not okay to talk down. For your own good, respect each other.
When someone’s self-esteem is attacked, they’ll quickly, even if temporarily, forget all the good you’ve done for them. Why? Because self-esteem, self-respect, or even ego, is linked to the most innate, fundamental human aspect of self-preservation. Respect is not limited to just respecting the other person, but their values too. They may have different beliefs than yours, a different way of thinking, of operating. You don’t necessarily have to agree, but if you wish to retain love, you have to, at the least, give respect.
The second piece of the love puzzle is care. It is love in action. You may tell someone twice a day that you love them, but if the first moment they need you, you are not there for them, what good is that love? If they are sick and you don’t even give them medication, if they are scared or nervous and you make no attempt to soothe them, if you can’t make them feel good about themselves, if you can’t comfort or embrace the other person, what good is that love?
Care in words is important but care in actions is far more important. It doesn’t just stop at paying the bills, it’s about repaying the other person. Every word and every gesture of care fosters love. What do you do with the things you love, be it cars, gadgets or accessories? You take care of them, right? Therefore, what would you do if you really loved someone? You do the math.
I once read, “Nobody is perfect. And, I’m Nobody!” This is how many people live. They know they are not perfect but they believe and behave as if their word is gospel. Compassion is about being kind towards the other person and their mistakes and not holding them hostage to your own self-perceived sense of superiority or perfection.
Sometimes, when you don’t agree with somone, or you can’t understand their perspective, can you, at least, adopt a compassionate view and let it go? Forever justifying our thoughts, acts, and emotions, we are often compassionate towards our own mistakes. But, it is having compassion for the other person that heals love. I’m hurt but I’ll let it go, says forgiveness. I’m sorry you had to do this, says compassion. Forgiveness sympathizes, compassion empathizes. And love? Love synthesizes the two.
The fourth and final ingredient of love is appreciation. From a five-year-old to a ninety-five-year-old, appreciation makes the other person feel valued; it makes them feel loved and important. No one wants to be unhappy.
Whenever you see good in the other person, express it, appreciate it and they’ll automatically want to do more good. You don’t have to do it artificially, you just have to look at their positive side. Everyone could do with a bit of appreciation. In a relationship, two people, day-in-day-out do numerous things that could be appreciated, but the lack of the first three elements makes them oblivious to the good the other person is doing.
After being married for fourteen years, a man applies for a divorce.
“On what grounds do you seek divorce?” the magistrate asks.
“Your Honor, my wife has absolutely no table manners. She’s a disgrace at social dinners.”
“You’ve been together for fourteen years, and now, suddenly, her table manners are an issue?”
“Yes, Your Honor, because only last month, I read a book on manners and etiquette. She has none of them, I observed, after finishing the book.”
As we grow and gain new perspectives, as our priorities change, we often want the other person to change as well. The other person, however, is going through their own set of lessons. Just because now you know more or know different doesn’t make the other person unworthy or unfit for your love.
Mostly, when people ask, do you love me, what they are really saying is: “Do you want me? Like really want me, more than anything or anyone else in the world.” It is then followed by an assumption: “So, if you want me, I’m sure you’ll do everything possible to keep me happy, to take care of me. Forever.” Often, love is confused with the emotions of madly wanting someone or being wanted badly by the other person.
It may be a form of love but it’s often not sustainable. The truth is, in real life, this type of love only happens for a short time, and then people enter into a relationship. Once living, loving and seeing each other becomes part of the routine, they start to ignore one or all of the four elements above and as that happens, love withers away before long.
Lasting love is always mutual. You can’t love someone out of pity or obligation; it won’t last. In the initial stages, love is a strong feeling and then a strong desire. Thereafter, it is an act, not the act of making love but the act of loving. It requires some effort from both sides.
The next time you tell someone you love them, ask yourself if you respect them, care about them, and if you are compassionate and appreciative towards them. Yes? Now ask yourself if your actions show it too. Yes? It is love. And do you want them too? Yes? Big Bonus. Companionship, joy, togetherness and a sense of peace and security automatically find a place in a loving environment. Love adds up.
And what if they don’t love you back still? For another day.
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Ever said to yourself, ‘I wanna know what love is’? Here’s a story of a real-life couple:
When Camre Curto gave birth to her son, Gavin, she suffered a stroke and a seizure, causing her to be placed in a medically induced coma. When she awoke, her long-term and short term-memory were gone. She didn’t know who she or her family was.
A few months later, she still didn’t know her husband, Steve. But as they sat on the couch one evening, she said suddenly, “I don’t know who you are but I know I love you.”
Moved and inspired by her words, Steve set out to write a book, But I Know I Love You. The book detailed their 10-year love story, recounting everything from their first date to their wedding to the birth of their son.
The book worked. Today, Camre remembers both Steve and Gavin.
That’s the power of love. How to stop loving someone who doesn’t remember or even love you? Well. Sometimes, if it’s worth it, you don’t.
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Free yourself from suffering and live life to the fullest. Learn the yogic technique of meditation in 4 days (and master it over a lifetime)
The following FAQs highlight just that. We are born to, from and for love. And that’s the highest truth there is.
What is an example of true love?
Love, like faith, is beyond logic or rationale. It is the very thing that propels us to grow, transform and make the impossible possible. I am not sure if faith can move mountains but I am certain that if the stream of love is gushing from your heart, you can move the entire universe.
Love makes you transcend your limitations.
What is love?
Love: a state where you equate your own well-being on par with that of the
Care: the only true measure of one’s love. Loving someone means caring for them. Whether your actions show that you care about the preferences, honor, and well-being of the other person (and they yours) is just about the only true indicator of love.
Read the moving, beautiful story of Lata Khare, a 65-year-old poor villager who ran a marathon barefoot to win the prize money for her husband’s medical treatment. You cannot imagine doing what Lata did for her husband without a deep love that constantly runs through your veins faster than adrenaline does in fright.
If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I wanna know what love is,” well. This is what only love does.
What is the essence of real love?
This is 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.
To love is an art and perhaps the most important one, for love is not only the fundamental ingredient of harmony in relationships but also the basis of our very existence. It is the one thing everyone desires and offers wholeheartedly.
What is true love?
When it comes to love, the age-old adage, treat others like you want to be treated, does not work. Love operates on a different principle.
Let me share a beautiful Tao story by Chuang Tzu. This anecdote is worth more than a thousand books written on love. This is the art of love in a nutshell.
What is the golden rule of love?
Often when we think of love, we expect that there will be no setbacks, we’ll never be hurt again, life will shape according to our dreams. Love, in fact, is the opposite. Loving someone means opening ourselves up to vulnerability.
Let me give you the golden rule of love:
Don’t hurt back when you are hurt. Let the dust settle after the storm and then express yourself non-violently, compassionately. I call this love. Since, if your love is true, the storm will pass.
Why shouldn’t we hurt back when we are hurt? Because the only true way to see the depth of anyone’s love is to see their behavior. What is love? Love is behavior. It’s attitude.
A word on love – life has little meaning without it.
Can love be of different types?
Loving can heal and it can break. What is love? Not just spiritual or romantic love but also love for oneself, the world and more, for love is life itself. Come, let’s perfect loving, because when we give love, we gain a lot.
A mushy serialized love story that will have you in stitches, take you down memory lane and keep you wanting more.
Can a renunciant and a householder be friends for real?
An 11-year-old gets slapped by a rude relative. To his parents’ surprise, he still takes care of him all his life, and then of that man’s wife. His love is bigger than all the ego, all the thanklessness, all the ingratitude.
Read all this and more soul-stirring true experiences in 10 Ways to Love Better. The elements of love have never been more real.
What are the 2 fundamental attributes of love?
Can you ever stop loving someone? If you don’t have these two fundamental attributes of love in a relationship, yes. It is possible. For love exists in these two elements alone. Watch the video below and learn what they are.
- 0:50: What is love?
- 1:58: The two fundamental attributes of love
- 9:25: Loving somebody vs. being in love