**cue up the New Edition record**. So many songs about love…what it feels like, what it sounds like, hell, what it tastes like. It isn’t a negative emotion, experience, feeling. The very essence of love is in the fact that it denotes positivity and freedom. Love is freedom. Love makes you feel like anything is possible. It makes you feel as if you need nothing else in the world, that you can meet all of your basic needs with it. You can consume it, breathe it, touch it, cover your body with it like a blanket. I can tell you what it is, but unfortunately, I can also tell you what it isn’t.
It probably shouldn’t make you miserable. Have you ever met someone who was “in love”, but they seemed like the most depressed person on earth? Always sad, complaining about what the love of their love isn’t providing for them, how they’re making them feel? And when you try to tell them that they’re probably not in love, but in some sort of passion or lust filled place, they come up with excuses as to why they’re being treated so poorly? Yeah, that’s not a loving relationship. Love is supposed to fill you with joy, not dread. If the unhappy moments outweigh the wonderful ones by a landslide, then you’re more than likely in a toxic relationship. ABORT!
It shouldn’t change who you are. So, you finally got the man/woman of your dreams, that person that you’ve been crushing on. And it seems like you’re exactly what they’re looking for. Except, you’re not. You’re constantly tip-toeing around them, walking on eggshells, afraid of being yourself. Maybe you learned they don’t like hip-hop music or something (that’s someone who’s obviously dead inside, but I digress), but it’s your favorite and it speaks to your soul. Or, you love corny knock-knock jokes, but they’ve told you that it’s one of their pet peeves. Or, more seriously, they tell you they want tons of children, and even though you can’t see yourself carrying around another baby, you pretend that it’s cool, in hopes that you can change their mind. They’re not in love with you anymore than you’re in love with them. All you’re doing is stifling your true self, and become more despondent and empty each day. And let me tell you, once that happens, you’ll find yourself in the first “this ain’t love” category above.
It should never hurt. Love should never, ever, ever hurt. Physically, psychologically, or emotionally (the only exception to this rule is in the case of Romeo and Juliet, and well, we see how that ultimately turned out anyway). I’m talking more than the miserable love of the first point. I’m talking about someone who is constantly cutting you down, destroying your spirit. I’m talking about the narcissists who lead you to believe that you are worthless, that you don’t deserve love, and that they’re the best you’ll ever find. Those people are severely dangerous, and should be steered clear of. If you’re in a “loving” relationship that is giving you pain in any way, you have to immediately (and safely) abandon that situation.
Love should water your soul, and the best kind sometimes allows you to become more you, with all of your flaws and shortcomings. It should never be conditional or scary or painful. It should cause you to want to be a better person, and should elevate you. Now, don’t confuse this with love making you “whole”. You’re already whole. It just means that it should complement who you are. It holds no expectations of you that you cannot fulfill. When I was in love, it felt as if I could fly. The other person made me feel like I could conquer the world if I just set my mind to it. And once you’ve been in love and lost that, it can make you feel as if you’ll never get that back again. But you know the great thing about love? It’s not some limited edition item, with only a few made. Love is bottomless source within your soul, and as long as you’re open and willing, guess what? It will replenish within you, and somehow, more will find you.