Thought Catalog

What Love Is Not

  • 0
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Love is not what the movies and hit songs tell us it is.

Love doesn’t hurt. If it hurts it’s something else. Fear. Attachment. Idolatry. Addiction. Possessiveness.

Nobody’s heart aches out of love. In pop culture, love gets conflated with desire all the time. From childhood we learn you can like something, or you can love it, as if it’s only different degrees of the same thing.

Love is all selflessness. It’s the opposite of need and attachment. To an individual it’s a sensation of allowing, rather than seeking. Letting go, rather than grasping.

Love is subtle and silent and delicate, and in its beginnings it can be drowned out easily by attachment, lust and fear. Love must have space, and force is what crowds it out. Love is powerful but it isn’t forceful.

Desire is simple and often reckless. We need to manage it carefully to avoid causing harm. Desire is the intention to change something, to reject what it is in favor of what it could be — something better, more secure, more pleasing. Love is the intention to let that thing be for its own sake.

A lot of us grow up thinking that to love is simply to want very badly. It’s hard to be sensitive to love when you’re overrun by desire. Love isn’t something that can be done badly, if it’s love at all. Desire can happen at the same time as love, but it’s not the same thing.

Jealousy isn’t love, nor is it evidence of love. Jealousy is fear. Love doesn’t drive people mad, it drives them sane. Desire, in its different forms, can drive people to do anything. Love never drives people to kill or steal or cheat or worry.

Love reveals itself when you release your need to have the object of your affection, and see that there’s no reason to make it yours. That it exists at all is enough. To love something is to disappear in its favor — to die to your own interests so that it can be what it is.

In evolutionary time, love is new, and we’re still learning to used to it. It’s a much more sophisticated human capability than desire.

Desire’s been around forever. It’s a high-horsepower engine. It’s loud. It handles poorly. It only goes the way it’s pointing. It needs a sober driver, but it makes you drunk.

Desires are personal. They’re attached to you and they end where you end. They can be no bigger than you.

Love is bigger than you. To love someone is for their happiness to be the same as your own.

And so love is the dissolution of the borders between you and me and them. Those lines are conceptual and imaginary anyway, and love gives you vision clear enough to see the world without them.

Your love can’t be reserved for one person. If you only love one person you probably don’t love anyone. Love isn’t something you can aim. The truer your love is — in other words, the less you have it confused with something else — the more generalized it becomes. To love fully is to love all.

It takes practice to give up “good for me” in the name of “good.” In the grand scale of evolutionary time, human beings are only at the beginning of experimenting with this — working with something bigger and more important than personal desire.

But love is already everywhere, at least in the background. It’s too conspicuous to be marginalized, even among a population largely driven insane by mismanaged desire. We need to learn to navigate our desires better in order to love fully. We’re working on it.

It’s an interesting time to be alive. We’re graduating from a culture of desire-driven lives to one of love-driven lives. The solution to the world’s problems will look more and more obvious as more people begin to understand that and make that transformation. The first step is knowing the difference.

Defining it is impossible. You can throw words at it but never pin it down. Nothing is misidentified more often than love. But for now, we can know what it’s not. If it hurts, it’s not love. TC mark

LIKE THIS POST? THEN YOU WILL THE AUTHOR’S BOOK. CHECK IT OUT HERE.

neverhappen

Read This

More from Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog Videos


    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on Ashtray Girl and commented:
      Beautiful.

    • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/12/what-love-is-not-2/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

      […] Thought Catalog » Love & Sex […]

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on Wandering Fool and commented:
      Simply.Beautiful.

    • http://itsyowyow.com/2012/12/28/thought-catalog-roundup-31/ Thought Catalog Roundup « Yow Yow!

      […] What Love Is Not […]

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on marinamiller16 and commented:
      Amazing. I wish I could write like this.

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on Sparks! ♥.

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on Almost a SuperGirl and commented:
      Definitely so true.

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on My Vulnerabilities and commented:
      If it hurts, it’s not love. But what if I am hurt but I don’t do anything about it? And if I let him be, for its own sake? Quite contradicting for me…

    • http://nataliajayne.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/articles-i-read-loved/ Articles I Read & Loved « It's me, Natalie

      […] “What Love Is Not” by David Cain (Thought […]

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on Out of the Box..

    • http://mylifeinblogg.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/events-of-various-significance/ Events of Various Significance « My Life In Blog

      […] What Love is Not […]

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on wiredweirdrawncrotchet.

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on Crazy Biterella.

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on Girl on Fire.

    • http://curiositesdenicole.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/love-vs-desire/ Love vs Desire | Curiosités de Nicole

      […] Catalog but today I ran across an article attempting to describe the all mysterious idea of love.  In it they portray love as a greater power and desire as the weakness and insecurity to feel […]

    • http://imabigfatstalker.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/maybe/ Maybe « One Day
    • http://lookingfornirvana.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/what-it-is-not-or-is-or-should-be/ What It Is Not. Or Is. Or Should Be. | Just Your Average Crap

      […] read this a few days back and could not stop thinking about it. Of course, I had to tell someone why. The […]

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on Skirt.

    • http://ravens4rooks.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/pacing-the-cage-of-her-own-clarity/ “Pacing the cage of her own clarity” « Many fandoms, one love

      […] you think about it, unconditional love is almost unflattering – it has an air of promiscuity to it. What we have it in ourselves to promise to each other is a […]

    • http://sickocean.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/because-love-it-is/ because love it is. « Sick with Poetry.

      […] What Love Is Not (thoughtcatalog.com) […]

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on sunsets and silhouette dreams and commented:
      If it hurts, it’s NOT love.
      “Try not to confuse attachment with love. Attachment is about fear and dependency, and has more to do with love of self than love of another. Love without attachment is the purest love because it isn’t about what others can give you because you’re empty. It is about what you can give others because you’re already full.”

    • http://jaelkyle.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/too-emotional/ too emotional « we break our own hearts

      […] the pain that the sibling has to struggle with, I said, love is not suppose to hurt (pulling out this article from my […]

    • http://kaylalaw.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/what-love-is-not/ What Love Is Not | kaylalaw
    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on The Inner bottle.

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on Following Indigo.

    blog comments powered by Disqus