What is the true definition of love? I have a friend who recently explored the "14 Definitions of Love" and it was a fascinating study. But my question is, I think, a bit different. There may be 14 types of love, but what is love itself? How do you define it? It can be categorized as an emotion, a goal, a reason, inspiration, a physical act. It can be expressed in myriad ways. But love really defies definition... it exists in the nameless and cannot be grasped or molded. I think this might be the reason so many relationships fail. We are so very used to "having it our way" - we are a society of control freaks. Love cannot be controlled, plain and simple. It either exists in a relationship or it doesn't, and for humans that's just unacceptable.
Perfect love, in this light, might be the love exhibited by a dog to its human, and by this of course I'm referring to unconditional love. I know very few people who are capable of giving unconditional love, but for a dog it comes with the territory. Most dogs are programmed with a trust chip that only fails under the most extreme of circumstances. Yet we consider them far beneath us on so many levels. Personally, I think they're the species that actually gets it. I read an email (whether true or not, it still hits a chord) about a child who was mourning the loss of a canine pet. While the rest of the family mopped up tears this child observed that the reason dogs live so few years compared to us is that they don't need to live longer - it doesn't take them so long to get it right. We ought to be taking notes.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not elevating myself in any way - I'm just as guilty as the next person. I have been cheated on often enough to be hyper-sensitive to deception of any sort, and I don't have a high tolerance level for dishonesty. I am afraid of being hurt, I admit it. Dogs might be, too, but they love wholeheartedly regardless... in some future life I hope to be able to set my inhibitions aside and love just like that, no matter what happens.
A good friend has a caption under her email signature that says (in part) that in the end we will preserve only what we care about. That's the other thing about true love, I think... its expansive, blind to prejudices and faults, embodies the spiritual. When I walk in the woods I feel love that threatens to burst the confines of my meager mortal body. That love is probably the most pure emotion I feel. Speaking strictly for myself, I wish I were a big enough person to express that kind of love in every aspect of my life. As it is this is only something I can aspire to - and I certainly do.
So, in short, I can't define love. I can explain some aspects of it, and aspire to a true and honest model of it, but I can't define it. Love is elusive, and yet it encompasses everything. Maybe as I grow older I will be able to incorporate more love and fewer conditions into my life. And yes, I am taking notes.