What is ‘love’?

Model: Christy Cunanan Attire: Silviyana x Pure Magnolia Photographer: Lyka Creatives Venue: Whimsy Pasadena

Our world is currently adapting to change – whether this change is temporary or permanent, we will leave that discussion for another day. Day by day, I witness the growth of confusion, anxiety, frustration and dislike in our world, and I would like to take this time to dive into ‘what is love?’ We know that love is the most powerful feeling in the world, it moves us forward in so many ways, but is it just a feeling or is greater than that?

The Road Less Travelled book by M. Scott Peck is a book that I read on and off, and albeit it is a rather dense read, his theories are a good ponder for these difficult times, and I would like to take a few quotes from his book to discuss his definition of love.

 … “love is always either work or courage. If an act is not one of work or courage then it is not an act of love. There are no exceptions”

-The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck

“the principal form that the work of love takes is attention. When we love another we give him or her our attention; we attend to that person’s growth. When we love ourselves we attend to our own growth. When we attend to someone we are caring for that person. The act of attending requires that we made the effort to set aside our existing preoccupations. Attention is an act of will, of work, against the inertia of our own minds”.

-The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck

Falling in love is easy, but true love is work. Many brides today are feeling the weight that COVID-19 is having on their wedding plans. The major decisions that come with wedding planning amidst a global pandemic is a huge burden for couples.

My only word of encouragement is this, if it is difficult that means it is good. When you fell in love with your significant other, it was an ecstatic feeling filled with admiration and that is truly a wonderful feeling. But for true love to blossom, that fleeting feeling of falling in love will end (and that is okay), for what comes next is a wonderful exchange of true love. I love how Speck defines true love as a ‘labour of love’. It requires tremendous effort. True love is more than a feeling, it is a commitment that regardless of the effort needed to love the other person, both parties will persevere to grow old together (and isn’t that a beautiful thing?)

True love is attention and active listening

As mentioned love is work and courage. It is easy to confine ourselves to the comforts of no risk, we can be alone without risking getting hurt, and being cheated on, but without the courage to choose love, we will miss out on the opportunity to truly love. Courage does not mean you are not fearful, on the contrary, courage is being filled with fear but persevering with the act of love, regardless of fear. Love is work. It means, every day, regardless of the pain, we reach out to choose to love. When we are attentive to the person we love, that person feels loved. Active listening is crucial to a healthy relationship. This does not mean just asking questions, here are a few tips on active listening.

  1. Dedicate the time either daily, weekly or monthly to set an hour of time without distractions (phones, chores, etc.) to listen to what the other person wants to chat about. 
  2. Ask questions like ‘how are you?’ And ‘how was work?’ And ‘How was school?’ This time truly asking the question and allowing your partner to speak their mind. This means actively listening to the words without worry of what you ought to say next. It also means distancing yourself away from the words that he/she might say. This time is his/her time. It might be easy to feel offended by what he/she says, but allow him/her the time to explain his/her feelings.
  3. Hold hands or put your arm over his/her shoulder. Pour each other’s coffee or tea before setting time to chat. 

True love is putting ourselves in the other person’s world, and attempting to understand his/her worldview. It is these troubled times that we need to truly love each other. Growth is the only constant. Let’s embrace this and choose love.