Love makes the world go around. Love changes everything. Love is blind.
For centuries, philosophers, poets, intellectuals and biologists have attempted to capture the true essence of love. They tried to understand the mysterious alchemy that causes the seismic shift within us whenever we experience the first blush of love. Here are some definitions from well-known individuals:
Shakespeare: “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.”
Katharine Hepburn: “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.”
Paula Coelho: “Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.”
M. Forester: “You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”
All of these are worthy attempts at capturing the ambiguity and subtlety of the ethereal nature of such a delicate yet powerful emotion. Yet no amount of words can do true justice to its splendor because love is not an intellectual construct but an emotional one. It belongs to the faculty of the heart and not the mind. It is something that needs to be felt and not necessarily understood.
Love is a very personal experience that is unique to each one of us, based on our personal pre-dispositions, temperaments and proclivities. For some people, love takes on a more practical form as in the case of a mother taking time out of her busy work schedule to pick her kids up from school, or to visit her elderly mother to spend more quality time with her.
For others, love takes on a more passionate and fiery dimension. It’s the primal force that spurs an artist who is in love with her craft to create a magnificent masterpiece. It’s the ardour that impels a man to travel across to other end of the world for a few days just to spend time with his new love. We all have our own unique ways of giving and receiving love, and we can experience love in many different ways.
My personal theme of love has always been about devotion and loyalty. I know that I love someone or something if I’m willing to stick with it/them through thick and thin. To me, devotion is a compelling word, often used in a religious context, which captures the intensity of the willingness to commit to something you believe in. Sadly, in today’s disconnected and fragmented society, it is a rare occurrence.
But love is not just some fancy, emotive ornament used for sentimental indulgence. It is a biological need that is critical to our survival. Many studies have shown that if newborn babies do not receive sufficient human physical touch, they can die, even if all their physical needs are met. Also, people living solitary lifestyles or those who have troubled relationships tend to have significantly lower lifespans.
These phenomenons occur because we are, by nature, social creatures, wired and built for having genuine relationships and regular interactions. The experience of love is meant to help us grow and evolve to become better human beings. So many people today live in isolation because of hectic work schedules and have less face-to-face interactions with the advent of the Internet and social media.
It is critical that we step out of our self-made islands and seek out meaningful connections with others. We need to swim away from the shallow end of the emotional pool and submerge ourselves into the depths of wholeheartedness because that’s where the real treasures of life reside.
If you are still hesitant to acknowledge the transformative effects of love, I have created a list of the many ways that love can change us for the better, which just might convince you to make the shift.
1. It is beneficial for our physical health: Whenever we are in the throes of love, the entire biochemistry of our body changes. Our body releases a flood of feel-good hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin, all of which have a tremendously healing impact on our system. Studies have also shown that genuine feelings of kinship provide numerous physiological benefits, such as fighting diseases like cancer, lowering stress levels, prolonging our lifespan, boosting our immune system and mental capacity.
2. It raises our personal vibration: Just like other entities in the cosmos, our body emits a certain vibrational frequency. Whenever we experience positive emotions such as love and joy, we raise our personal vibration and we’re elevated up to a whole new energetic stratum. Our heart space opens up and pulsates at a higher frequency, which in turn attracts other high-energy circumstances and people into our space. We essentially align ourselves with the bountiful sources of the Universe. An effective way to activate your heart space is by doing heart chakra mediations and heart-centering practices.
3. We become more compassionate and empathetic: Love is a healing emotion that has the power to soften a person’s heart. People who feel lonely and unloved tend to be more critical, cynical and mean-spirited. In the animated movie Despicable Me, the main character named Gru started out as an infamous bad guy but upon meeting the three light girls he eventually adopted, he completely changed his villainous ways. The affection that his newly-adopted daughters expressed towards him had a profound impact on him and inspired him to become a more compassionate and empathetic being.
4. We feel more confident, capable and braver: Having someone who loves you and believes in your potential can skyrocket your own belief in yourself. When you feel loved and supported, you become fearless and have the courage to take bigger risks to get ahead in your journey. You don’t feel like a lone ranger in your quest for success when you know that you have a sanctuary to retreat to. If you mess up along the way, you take comfort in knowing that someone has got your back and can help you stand up again. Pure unconditional love will ultimately strengthen you and support your personal evolution.
5. It gives us a more positive outlook on life: Healthy relationships and hobbies that are free of addiction and other dysfunctional patterns will give you a more positive and optimistic general outlook on life. When you are engaged in a labor of love, whether it is a pet project, a career or a relationship, your mind enters a state of timelessness and flow. All the favorable aspects of being in a state of love culminate into you feeling on top of the world while experiencing balance, joy and equanimity.
Love is our birthright and it is something that we all have a right to luxuriate in. It is the vigorous force that governs the rhythms of the oceans, the forests, the desert and all the beautiful creatures that dwell in them. It is the benevolent and loving embrace of this Universal Force that gives life to us all and which we can all tap into to magnify within our personal space.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: In what ways have your experiences of love transformed you? Do you believe love can transform a person?
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