Everybody knows what love feels like or at least has a personified feeling of what true love could look like. We imagine a love cultivated out of trust and a bond so pure it makes goosebumps manifest all over our body and makes our thoughts yearn for just a single chance that we can experience this euphoric sense of reality within ourselves.
We are all familiar with the saying “blinded by love.” It proposes the idea that love is a feeling so deeply encrypted it disables all processes of truth and denies all access codes of sensibility; instead, it generates a vision of perfection based on the love we all aspire for in our dreams. But love can also be admirable and angelic. The power of a single gaze or the sensation of holding each other in the presence of pain is one of the most divine and delicate feelings life has to offer.
Sometimes I think it’s important to understand that just because we know what love looks like doesn’t mean we know how to love. I say this because when we think of love, we skip forward to the ending, the intense desirable romance. We yearn to paint our love life like the one in the movies, although we disregard and ignore every strenuous step it took to get there.
Love is more than a euphoric feeling; it’s a promise. It’s a promise to segue into a new chapter of life hand in hand with your lover and from then on choose to look through a lens of unity and togetherness.
Love is a sacrifice. Love is leaving singleness behind in addition to our daily routines and selfish dreams. Loving someone means you love according to how they receive love. It means if they want quality time, you plan dates and prioritize your time without hesitation. It means if they desire physicality, you hug them to show them adoration and you kiss them to let them know you’re there. When you love someone, you learn to love them and make them feel appreciated in every way. True love means learning about who they are and accommodating to meet each other’s needs.
Love is a job. I don’t mean this to degrade and deprive love of its beauty, but love is built from something greater than an easy kiss or the giving of a gift. Like a job, we must show up and be present. It becomes our responsibility to cradle the heart of our loved one and watch after it at all costs, but most importantly, it is our greatest responsibility not to injure it ourselves.
Love is ugly. I say this because life isn’t like Hallmark movies, where every day is Christmas and each hour encounters something to celebrate, encompassing joy and romance. Loving someone means even on the worst of days, and in our bleakest hour, we stand by the one we love. I want you to understand that loving someone forever and always is difficult—it means that there are days when they will be your worst enemy and that there will be days you refuse to alter your perspective and you let the impatience and venomous anger leak from inside you. But if you really love someone, you will step outside and take a look at the sky—you will watch as the sun falls, as the pinkish-blue mixes and melts into a dark gray, and just as the day ends, so does your rage and resentment.
If you really love someone, you will watch as the moon begins to make its appearance and you will walk back inside, putting down your sword, leaving animosity behind, instead holding a lamp of clarity and open arms to guide you both back on your path of love.
So when you think of love, I ask you to imagine holding the heart of the one you love and clutching it tightly with both palms. I would like you to imagine the agony and the pain they feel as blood pumps profusely through their veins, the tightness they experience enclosing their chest. I want you to imagine their demise as they collapse, unable to breathe. Imagine the fear they feel as their life segues into the territory of the bleak and unknown, a road that they will go down alone.
I ask you to imagine this because this is the reality of true love, a love that encompasses passion and enchantment but also hardship and pain, but most importantly, I ask you to visualize the pain you could potentially impose on someone else.
Loving someone is a choice, and it’s a responsibility.
Don’t let someone hand over their heart if you don’t know how to care for it.
Please don’t try and love someone until you know how.