What is Love

Photo by Molly Reid

The sun sets on another day…

As Valentine’s Day is upon us, it seems only fitting to talk about relationships and the emotions surrounding them.

Recently, while having a conversation with a new friend, I learned that they had never been in a relationship before. Upon hearing this, I immediately told them how excited I was for them as love is the best feeling in the world and everyone should get to experience that with a significant other. He was baffled by this statement as all he could focus on was how devastating the effects would be if the relationship ended. Interesting mentality to hold.

As I sat and tried to dissect this statement, I was left baffled. Let’s discuss true love for a moment. Most people will never recognize it, will never truly feel it. Not because they don’t want to but because they are unable to accept its true meaning. If you are truly in love with someone, it means doing the right thing for them and by them even if you don’t always want to. It means staying up late at night to have deep conversations about everything and nothing at the same time. It means wanting to be around them even if you aren’t doing anything simply because their presence provides a comfort unlike one you’ve felt before. It’s knowing that there might be better people out there in the world, and the grass might indeed be greener on the other side, but choosing to stay because you recognize just how lucky you are. And true love is wanting the best for someone even if that isn’t you.

By no means would I consider myself a relationship expert, seeing as I am single and have had my relationship failures, I clearly don’t have the answer for “How to Get the Guy/Girl Just in Time for the Lover’s Holiday”, but I do know how to love and why I will keep searching for it.

No relationship is perfect. Every relationship has its flaws. Interestingly, in both of my relationships, I was not the person to end them. Not because we weren’t having problems, but because problems are a part of life and if I give up every time I hit a road block I would likely not even get out of bed in the mornings. Some things in life are just worth fighting for. Loving someone is a consuming feeling. It takes over your whole life and your whole body. You find your thoughts drifting to the one you love throughout the day. You get excited to see them. Life simply becomes better because you have someone to share it with. It’s the purest feeling in the world and I thank God every day that I have been blessed to experience it not once thus far in life, but twice with a significant other.

But Rachel, aren’t you sad that you are not in love anymore? Not at all. The experiences I have had are truly once in a lifetime. They will not be repeated ever again, I will never love someone the way I have loved before. And that’s excellent! I fell madly in love with a high school sweetheart quickly thinking he would be the man I spent the rest of my life with only to find out he wanted me along with another. That love was pure and innocent. It had no fears and no roadblocks, the world was my oyster in forming this love and boy was it special. But I learned that to love someone that much holds its pitfalls. I was broken and crushed afterwards and every day thought the sun couldn’t possibly come up because all happiness was drained from my world. As I slowly put the pieces back together, I began to realize that while that type of love was amazing, it was toxic to me.

Then I found another and I loved him differently, I settled for a lot of things and was completely selfless and selfish. I wasn’t a priority in his life and I convinced myself that was okay. And it ended and I bounced back faster than I thought possible. While I was perfectly content being with this man for the rest of my life as well, it taught me that I mustn’t settle for qualities I don’t actually desire.

And interestingly, I can’t wait to fall in love again. Not because I’m itching at the idea of getting my heart broken but simply because I can’t imagine going the rest of my life without being loved and loving someone.

I guess my moral to this entire story is this: don’t let the fear associated with being in a relationship stop you from jumping into one. Timing will never be perfect and it you’re waiting for the perfect moment, you’ll always be waiting. So jump into love, you’ll probably fail a few times but that’s okay because each time you do you’ll be one step closer to success. Don’t ever think a failure means the end as I am an avid believer that there are multiple “someones” for everyone.

Be happy, love life, and remember, it’s a great day to be alive.

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