What is Love?

Valentine’s Day. Single’s Awareness Day, if you will. For many of the singles ladies (and men) out there, the big, red holiday can seem like nothing more than an excuse to wallow self pity. But what is Valentine’s Day, really? It’s made of roses and chocolates. It’s a fancy outfit and a romantic dinner. It’s red and pink and sparkly. It’s the ultimate day of love, right?

I am not in love. I do not have a date this Valentine’s Day. I am spending the fourteenth of February in the manner that I would spend any other day. I am single, but I am not bitter. I may not be in love, but I have love. I believe that love can be found outside of exclusive relationships. It may sound trite or cliché to say that I love my friends, but there are a very few people who I value above all others. It’s not a romantic love; it’s a comfortable love. It’s supportive and reassuring. I’m confident that this love is not something that I’ve come up with to appease my single mind; I believe in it.

I know that this love is out there because I’ve received it. True story: when I overtaxed myself past the point exhaustion, a few people told me in honest and serious tones that I needed to slow down. When I became so overwhelmed that my muscles seized up on themselves and I couldn’t sleep without the help of MotrinPM, those same people stayed awake with me, although they really just wanted to go to bed. When the tears just came and I cried without reason, those people sat next to me and talked to me. They put down their school books, showed up a few minutes late to their meetings, and forewent Friday night parties in order to sit with me. Putting one’s personal agenda on hold in order to help another is love. It was friendship when people told me “it’s okay.” It was more than that when the select few gave me a conversation, gave me a hand, and gave me help.

Love is more than knowing a person; it comes when you understand a person, not because he or she predictable in nature, but because you truly comprehend his or her inner workings. Love happens when you can finish not only the other person’s sentences, but their thoughts. When two people can have a conversation without words – a conversation of glances and gestures – they have love. It’s a mutual understanding that goes beyond knowing each other’s favorite authors and subjects. When you understand how someone else forms opinions, processes information, and reaches conclusions, you have reached love. When you understand how another person acts when he or she is alone, without the influences of other people, you have reached love. So perhaps love is a certain level of understanding. It’s comfort and contentment. It’s the ability to see to a person’s core, beyond the exterior that he or she shows the rest of the world. But most importantly, it’s mutual. I do not believe in unrequited love; what most people would label as such, I would refer to as a sort of infatuation. If love is a type of understanding, then it must also be a connection. It is felt by both parties; they are joined to one another by a single thread of consciousness that is so strong, neither person feels as if they are working in the relationship. Love is effortless. You don’t realize when you attain it; it just happens. It’s quite rare, but it’s out there.

I might not have a date for this Valentine’s Day, but I have love. I have attained the lofty goal of “love” with only a few people, and I am perfectly content because I know that in this mutual exchange, they love me too. I will spend the “holiday” with the people that I love, and that’s more than good enough for me.

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