We all have our own definitions of love. Formed from our story, experiences, imprints, and what we’ve learned from our expired relationships. The shattering of our heart, over and over again, shakes up old blue prints and produces new ones — as long as we are healing, accepting, and growing and not holding on to hurt and resentments. Also, our definitions change as we change and our idea of relationships and love changes.
My point is our definitions of love are not a constant. They are always taking different shapes, growing and evolving. Sometimes they are fragmented, in pieces. Sometimes they require assembly. But they are always a living breathing thing. Our definitions may be settled but they are never hardened cement. Because with every new collision comes new highs, edges and cracks, and revelations. And through these revelations, about ourselves, others, and what we thought love was, we begin to reshape our definitions.
I think that’s the beauty of love. There is no one size fits all. Or standard. Love is limitless and ever changing, so it doesn’t define well. But we all have ideas, a snapshot of what love should look like, what works for us and doesn’t work for us, especially after all the shit we’ve been through. And it’s in these shapes that we pour our intimate experiences into. This protects us and makes us feel safe. But it can also limit us. Because love comes unexpected. It’s rarely planned. Most of the time, it drops out of nowhere. And most often, it’s not what we want it to look like or thought it would look like. This is why we also have to be open. We must hold on to our definitions but leave room for the unknown, the new, magic. It’s in this space that we will stretch our hearts, learn, grow, and continually redefine love. We have to. Because the day our definitions of love stop changing, we will stop loving.
I’ve been married, divorced, and been through many long term relationships. The longest I have loved someone was ten years. The shortest, four months. I’ve also coached thousands on their relationships. I’ve studied patterns, relationship dynamics, and wiring. I’ve learned what works, what doesn’t work, and why. But at the end of the day, it’s still confusing and blurry at times. There are so many ways to dissect the love experience. There are so many factors. And each experiences comes with its own challenges. But I have put together a quilted definition. Patches of different ideas and thoughts. For now. Until my next love experience and the blanket changes. Once again.
Here is my definition of love today.
Simply put, love is what happens after the fall. By “fall”, I mean falling into love. The natural high we get from the collision, the stripping of layers, discovering a different connection, new beliefs, and bodies. The dance. The banter. The highs we hit from this process. That is NOT love. That is infatuation, a crush, stirring. It is real but it is not love. It’s only the first domino. Love is the falling of many dominos.
Love kicks in when you realize the person you choose to be with is not perfect. They leave their dirty socks on the floor and the toilet seat up. They are challenging, difficult, and reactive at times. There are things about them you didn’t know. Not big things that will cause you to end the relationship. Maybe little things but things you must accept about them, because that’s what love looks like in action.
Love is not controlling nor possessive. There is no ownership in love. Many try to control but disguise it in fancy wrapping. Love is accepting and creating space for the other to live their own journey. This is extremely difficult because we hold on to our own ideas so tightly. So when there’s resistance, we resort to using love to try to control someone. But that is not love. That is control. Love should never be used to control someone. Love is walking side by side, not in front of or behind.
Love is patient. For me, this is the most difficult. To practice patience means to let go of time. And for many, projecting their time is the only way they know how to love. They have defined love in that way. Again, this is not love. Love is letting go. Love is letting be. Love is understanding.
Love is also challenging, draining, and destructive. Love is confusing. Love is addictive. Love is consuming. Love is disappointing. Love is quicksand. Love is arguing, fighting, disagreeing. Love is white knuckles. Love is frustration. Love is rebuilding. Love is debilitating. Love is distracting. Love is lopsided. Love is looking at your defects. Love is denying feelings. Love is being left in the dark. Love is unmet expectations.
That is my definition of love today.
It is important that you know what love means to you right now in this moment. That is what you will attract and be attracted to. That is how you will set boundaries and weigh need versus want. But also know that you have little control when it comes to matters of the heart. The heart is a powerful force logic will never be able to tame. You can define and guide. But ultimately it will go where it wants to.
Create your love quilt. You will need it. It will keep you warm.
But know that it will never cover everything that is love or can be.
Know that at times, you will be naked.