Love is not that flutter in your heart or butterflies in your stomach. Love is not bumping into a stranger and looking into his eyes. Love is not candlelit dinners and exotic vacations. Love is not the best sex you’ve ever had. Love is not just hugs and kisses. Love is not the crap that rom-coms feed you. Love is not summed up in a single shot of Cupid’s arrow.
It is the warmth you feel when you see them laugh. It is the incessant need to keep them happy. It is always wanting the best for them, even if it means a sacrifice on your part. It is compromises. It is fighting battles and still coming out strong. It is forgiving. It is understanding. It is being patient. It is always being there for them. It is being selfless. It is difficult, but you never want to let go. It is simply putting them before you. It is unconditional.
Love is the same feeling, no matter who it is for.
So why do we have different “kinds” of love for our parents, siblings, friends, or lovers? Why do we feel incomplete without “being in love”? Why do we feel the need to “fall in love”? To find our soulmate? Can we not find a partner in a friend? In a brother? In a mother, as we take care of her while she ages? Why is the idea of being “single” so shunned upon? Why can’t we admire all the other ways there are to feel love?
The answer is brutal but simple. Evolution. Reproduction.
In the end, we are mammals that need to breed. We find lovers so that we can produce the next generation of human beings. Lesson number one of evolution: the lust in us is confused with love, but the feeling amounts to so much more.
Should we let this purely biological phenomenon make us unhappy? Should we moan about never being “in love”? No, we shouldn’t, because we have so many other wonderful people in our lives: our friends, family, all sorts of people who love us and whom we can love.
The next time you feel lost or lonely about not having someone to “fall in love” with, remember that love can be from anywhere, but it will always impart the same happiness.
Think about the last time a friend told you they love you with all their heart.
Think about the time you curled into a ball and cried as your mother held you close.
Think about the friend who pulled an all-nighter with you to battle the last-minute essay.
Think about the time you insulted your father but he still kissed you goodnight.
Think about the time your brother chose to stay in with you instead of watching football with friends.
Think about the friend who walked miles to get you your favourite cake.
Think about the family that made cards to welcome you home from school.
Think about the friend who spent hours listening to you rant about your last heartbreak.
Think about the last time your parents panicked when you were lost in a new city.
Think about the friend who bought you a gift with his lunch money.
Think about the last time each one of them fulfilled the promise to keep you happy.
Think about their love for you. They might not say it all the time, but it is concealed in every little thing they do for you. You do not need “the one” to make you happy, your lover is just one among multiple people who define love for you.
You do not have just one soulmate, you have soulmates.