What is love?
Do you know what love is?
Can love be defined?
What’s the first thought or feeling which pops into your mind or heart when you think about love?
Or who is the first person who comes to mind or heart?
Is it someone else? Are you allowed to love them? Do they also love you? Are they allowed to love you?
Is your love for them unconditional or attempting to be unconditional but… it has smallprint?
Is your love for them or their love for you something which frees you or binds you?
Does it give wings or clip them?
Love… who is love?
Is it you? Do you love yourself? Are you allowed to love yourself? And if you do happen to love yourself, do others allow you to do so?
I started writing this post a few days ago as part of my recent series – Some Sort of Series. Usually I don’t bother with drafts, because if something becomes a draft… it’s going to get deleted. I prefer writing freestyle, which basically means I create a new post and express whatever is on my mind, in my heart, without thinking about it. I express myself freely then press publish…
Shout, shout, let it all out…
… deal with the consequences of free self-expression later.
This is a new habit for me. It still doesn’t quite fit… but it fits better than what I used to wear and do.
I used to worry so much about how others would read what I write, would interpret what I do, would hear what I say that… it usually ended up with me censoring and deleting everything about myself because… when you try to please (or control through being pleasing) others, you end up having to erase your own self-pleasure for them to have self-pleasure.
Please be aware that I grew up in a highly narcissistic environment, everything is exaggerated in that territory.
To make others enjoy your company there, to endure what it takes to make others love you… you may have hate yourself in the process.
Little miss or mister paper cut may need you to treat their paper cut as though it is a knife to the jugular, they will not love you if you tell them that they’ve just got a paper cut and need to get over it. Compared to many others int his world, their paper cut is a triviality for which they should feel lucky that it’s the most serious injury they’ve ever had. They will hate you for pointing that out, and may stab you in the jugular for it, then expect you not to bleed to death, especially on their saintly whites, about it.
Mind you, if you’ve been stabbed in the gut and are dying form that wound, a narcissist will tell you that it is just a paper cut so get over it… they’ve got a far more important wound (a thorn in their pinky finger) which needs emergency services stat!
They judge us harshly, but it is for own own good… or so they tell us.
And so we tell ourselves when we judge ourselves harshly.
We all do that kind of thing (except narcissists who only pretend to do it, can can pretend veyr effectively as to make it seem more real than when it is real) – judge ourselves harshly. We learn to do that fairly early on in life because… other people do it with themselves, due to other people doing it to them and teaching them to do it to themselves, and therefore to others… like us.
Our parents do it with themselves and pass that on to us. They may not mean to, but they do.
And because we judge ourselves harshly – we judge others harshly. We have a wound and we pass it on. We may not want to or mean to, but we do.
Because we don’t love ourselves… we get a bit perplexed when others love themselves.
Something I said recently while having a thought-provoking comment-chat on this blog:
“When we meet someone who seems to love themselves… we often get annoyed with them for it. Who do they think they are!?! When we say that ‘someone is in love with themselves’, we don’t tend to mean it as a compliment, and we’re often not happy for them. We may even decide to take them down a peg or two by trying to make them feel bad about loving themselves. Yet we’re always telling people that they should love themselves more, because it also annoys us when people don’t love themselves.”
In other words – Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
That is the human way. Or at least we tend to get taught that this is the human way from day one of being human. Your birth mother was in pain when she gave birth to you. Ergo – giving and receiving life = giving and receiving pain. Is that love?
If our very first taste of the lust for life is one of pain… intertwined with a certain pleasure… then, must our love for life also include pain?
Love is one of the first words, feelings, and ideas about which we learn, and from that moment on it becomes the thread which binds life together.
Love makes the world go round until we’re all dizzy, crazy in love with love.
We sprinkle it liberally in our conversations, daydream about it in our imagination, let it motivate us, inspire us, push us to cover the everything in hearts – hearting it.
The ever elusive heart… chase me, it taunts.
Artists of the heart passionately pay homage to it. There are poems, songs, stories, films, paintings, and many other creations which have love in their title, as their theme.
We sometimes fall in love with characters who represent our ideals of love…
We never cease to try to capture it, express it, hold onto it, chase it, and other pursuits. We build empires of longing upon it. We idolise it and pay tribute to it hoping it will grace us with its blessings.
We hate it for making us want it, for eluding us, for teasing and tantalising, for breaking our hearts, for rejecting us, for making us feel melancholic when it goes, for its unrequited agony, and for being frightened of it when it stays… as it could go away at any moment.
But what is love?
It’s the one idea which is most likely to be perceived differently by every person you meet, and this is sometimes the cause of battles, arguments, and the falling out of love with someone we once loved due to irreconcilable differences about our view of what love is.
Love, for some, is a doing word. They don’t want to hear professions of undying love, they want to see it in action. Don’t give them flowery speeches about how much you love them, how you love their this and that, they want you to show them through a feat of love. Show them the love!
It doesn’t always have to be grand, or planned, it can also be through everyday acts of loving.
A foot massage when their feet are tired, dirty and smelly – that should do it, but do it with a smile on your face and don’t complain or their feet will feel rejected, and so will they.
Love, for some, is a conversation piece. They love talking about love, hearing themselves wax lyrical about their love, how deeply they love, how their heart yearns and aches for love, how beautiful it is, and all their hopes and dreams for what it should be, could be, will one day be when they find the perfect love.
Don’t upset the speakers of love with issues about doing love, walking their talk, as they see their speaking of love as doing it – Talking is doing with words.
When they tell you about how they want to whisk you away to an island paradise, where your every footstep will be greeted with rose petals, and your every wish will be granted… they’re whisking you away as they talk, to a land of imagination where everything is possible and they control it all, and control you too while you’re in their dream of a day.
Don’t expect them to actually do any of this ever, don’t spoil their dreams of love with reality, don’t let them feel that they’ve disappointed you as their talk of love might turn into some other kind of talk. If they suddenly do what they’ve been going on about for ages, let that be a giant gasp-inducing experience which is thrilling rather than a reason to remind them that they never do anything, this is out of character for them – Are they dying? – and it proves they could have done all those other things they said they would do but never did. That’s the quickest way of turning a dream into a nightmare.
Love, for some, is sensory. Not in words, not in doing, but in being. You don’t have to say anything, do anything, they know from the way you look at them, touch them, feel, seem. They sense your love. They touch it, taste it, feel it, see it, hear it, and intuit it from your vibrations.
Be there when they need you, be not there when they don’t need you. Be there by their side because that lets them know that they are loved, just don’t be there when they don’t want you to be there, when they need to be alone, but don’t go too far away either, they don’t want to be that kind of alone. That let’s them know they are loved.
Bring them a flower you found growing through a crack in the pavement. Or better still take a picture of it but don’t pluck it, because plucking it might upset them due to killing it to do so. Tell them that it spoke to you about them, their strength, their uniqueness…
… and it also told you to buy them their favourite treat which they never buy themselves because it is a sin… a delicious indulgence of the senses which respects such things.
When did you first become aware of love?
Can you remember that day when a heart shape suddenly meant so much more?
I have to admit I have no idea when I first became aware of love as a concept. I’d heard the word, it was used a lot in my family as both my parents were talkers, and talked about love, but I hadn’t really thought about what it meant. Usually when the word love was used…
It had a condition attached.
I love you – mow the lawn.
Or a criticism.
I love that colour – but you look awful in it.
Or emotional blackmail.
If you really loved me you would – chop off your nose to spite your face.
My father’s favourite ode to love was – Those who love me will follow me (… into this pit of fire, but you go first I have to tie my shoelace).
My mother’s favourite love song was – Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m going out into the garden to eat worms (hint, hint, cue, cue… for you to cater to her poor little me and let her know she was loved, everyone loved her, how could they not she was so cute!).
My favourite image of love was – Running around wild and free (possibly starkers, definitely barefoot) at one with nature (… terrorising it with my enthusiasm and curiosity).
My family wasn’t a particularly fertile soil for rich and nourishing love to grow. However, twisted and tortured love grew aplanty (no, that wasn’t a deliberate typo, and I was going to fix it, but then I fell in love with it).
I learned early on that love was about – buying and selling love.
Want to be loved? Provide a service to meet a demand. Supply your customers with what they want, what they think they love, and they will love you (until they have a complaint).
My love was always being bought. It was often sold too on my behalf. No wonder I never had any in stock!
I recall several instances where my child self was ordered to do something in the name of bought and sold love… my parents wanted me to love someone who was a stranger to me, sit on their lap, kiss their ass, cater to their ego for the sake of my parents, when the very thought of it disgusted me – thank the gods which protect feral children. I said no, and gladly suffered the punishment of it, even though it was unfair in my view.
I did learn that my view was irrelevant. That the eyes of a child are often poked out with hot irons by adults who prefer to be blind, or at least prefer for their children to be blind to the crimes which adults, especially those we’re supposed to trust, commit on behalf of their quest to be loved by all and sundry rather than by those who truly matter.
I did end up absorbing a lot of their unhealthy teachings about love.
I mimicked the example set for me by my loving parents, and went about buying the love of others by selling love. My first sale and purchase that I can recall happened in kindergarten.
I was thrown into this kindergarten due to my parents needing to get rid of me while they lived and worked abroad for a few months.
I often wondered why they had bothered having a child (I found that out later)…
extract via Narcissistic Parents… by Seth Meyers
… since they were always palming me off to strangers.
I used to get attached to those strangers as they sometimes gave me affection and seemed to like me (see love is really quite simple), but this didn’t sit well with my parents. They didn’t want me around but they didn’t want anyone else to want me around either, and they definitely didn’t want me giving my love to others – they were my parents, they were the only ones I was allowed to love. This was an issue with our pets too, mostly because the pets belonged to my parents and were supposed to love them and not me or anyone else regardless of the treatment they were given and the natural consequences of that.
Kindergarten was weird for me because up until then I had had limited access to other children, I spent most of my time with adults and knew how to behave around them, but around other children… they tended to see me as being weird. And I was weird. The first week I was the weirdo in the corner…
But the weirdo in the corner knew how to make the corner seem like the place to be. I became a pusher of the drug which appeals to children – sugar!
I became the Candyman.
It was fun being loved for being the Candyman who always can… provide the sugar which others crave and love you for catering to their sweet tooth. Just don’t run out of candy… or don’t be around when you do run out!
I went in a different direction after that experience… that experience put me off developing into a sociopath with narcissistic tendencies, which kind of screwed me up as I went against the new societal push towards being the king of feeding the greed is good tide.
I coulda been a contender…
… instead I became the outsider who never could win because I kept hoping that love would come from something other than giving people what they desperately craved to have, and using that need to become the king of their pain and perhaps queen of their pleasure.
I didn’t want to make my fortune (or build my ego up) based on supplying desperation with the means to keep being desperate… so I could keep being fortunate by profiting form the desperation of others, pretending to offer a miracle cure for desperation alleviation or anything along those lines.
I did not exist for the sake of others, even though my parents seem to be determined to ram that point home to me – for their sake anyway. I forced my birth onto to them apparently as babies do, the least I could do was make up for the inconvenience by viewing myself as an extension of them as they viewed me. A pariah who had to win their approval from the get go which would be impossible as from the get go I was not wanted, and make up to them for the crime and sin of being born to them. Or something like that.
I didn’t want to be a narcissist… like they were even before I knew the term ‘narcissist’. I didn’t want to be a narcissist when being a narcissist was encouraged, valued and worshiped… not just in my family but in society at large.
When I was emerging from the nucleus of family into the greater nucleus of society… it just happened to coincide with the rampant love of all thing narcissist.
Oh, how we loved those who embodied the love of Me Me Me, and said eff you to loving You You You… our icons were selfish, arrogant, egomaniacs. We loved them because we wanted to be like them!
We may deny that now…
… we forget that was so easily when wrapped up in what is…
… we’re all about Empathy now, and caring for the You You You which is actually Me Me Me – stop making it all about you, make it all about me! I’m being all empathic and shit about you, appreciate it or I’ll get all upset and sensitive about it and make you pay for it by branding you a narcissist!
The old order changeth, yielding place to… a new version of the old order sometimes…
We’re still being as human as ever, making others responsible for what we don’t want to be responsible for, for what’s bothering us. Wanting others to help us love what we don’t love about ourselves… while others hope we’ll do the same for them.
These days being a narcissist is considered the worst thing you could be, we’re quick to brand others with this label, but loathe to empathise with such a status…
…and being the opposite way is considered to be quite a good thing…
… but are we really the opposite or… are we just seeing what we want to see…
… we love love as long as it reflects the best of us back at us, as long as it does what we need it to do to feed and nourish us, but what happens when it asks us to accept the worst of us and love that too?
What is love?