Updated: Sep 9, 2021
Part 1: Introduction, an approach to exploring a deep and complex question.
What does the word LOVE mean to you?
You may know immediately or you might want to give yourself some time to close your eyes and think about it….
Apart from the age - old question: “Who am I?”, the beautiful, complex and infinite question “What is LOVE?” has been asked by humans perhaps since humans began.
It is a question with as many answers as there are people, each unique answer as special as the next.
How do we even begin to explore such a question? Through this short text, we will look at love in one (of many ways) by splitting it into 4 categories:
Love for Others
Love for Things
Love for All
Love for Others.
This one is quite an easy one to work with - Humans, with very few exceptions, are socio-emotional beings. We have families, friends, pets, co-workers, idols etc and we love them in different ways.
Exercise: Who do you Love and Why?
(Take a moment to write down all the people and animals you Love.)
When looking at your “why?”, it is interesting to reflect on the reasons that we Love people.
Perhaps because they have known us our entire life, the relationship we have is strong and unbreakable. Perhaps there is a quality about someone that we admire and would like to express more of inside of us. Perhaps, especially in the case of pets, we feel they love US unconditionally and are loyal, recognising when we are feeling pain or sadness; in these instances, it is how present they are with us that makes us feel like we matter most to them and they are connected with what we are thinking and feeling.
We could Love a certain person because we have had shared experiences, times that we have made it through together, difficult decisions and compromises that have strengthened a bond. We could Love our spouse, partner, someone we are dating in a romantic way, experiencing the physical sensations of Love as attraction.
We could love our teachers and colleagues, for their guidance, support, motivation or inspiration.
Our families, children, parents, siblings, our extended family - even our ancestors for the genetic bond that is shared with blood.
Why do we love other PEOPLE? There seems to be limitless reasons that we could have love for another.
How many of your reasons for loving are condition-less?
And who do you love unconditionally - without needing or expecting anything back in return - including Love itself?
This is a hard question to answer as the deeper we look into these questions, the more we are able to see that a lot of the time, love for Other, works on reciprocity. This isn’t a wrong thing or a bad thing, it is just an observation. It is also incredible as we can see that part of our Human-Love operates on what we can give to someone else and what that person can give to us. This giving and receiving gives us room and stimulus to grow and also provides us with feedback about how we are doing.
E.g. I Love my friend because they are there for me when I feel sad. And my friend loves me because I can be a support when they are in hard times too. This leads to a feeling that someone has my back, that I have a loyal trustworthy friend and it gives me the privilege of being a loyal and trustworthy friend back.
It is conditional relationship, but if kept in balance, is a very beautiful exchange of a type of love - Loyalty.
So, HOW do we love others UNconditionally? And do we WANT to love everyone unconditionally? Is this even possible….
Read Part 2 to find out....
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