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Ask Anna #3: What is Love?

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Anonymous asked: What is love?

This question is nearly impossible to answer, but I’m going to try anyway. When Googling “What is love?” the Haddaway song is first to come up, followed closely by WikiHow explaining love in fifteen steps with pictures, as well as a Psychology Today essay entitled “What is love, and What Isn’t?” Unfortunately, love isn’t something you can Google your way through.

Love is the deepest affection you can feel for someone, and there are lots of different types of love. Romantic love is the most talked about and definitely the most pressing, but there are many varieties. There is platonic love, the way you love your friends, or familial love, the way you talk smack to your siblings but would dropkick anyone in a heartbeat if they dared to do the same. There’s the way you love your pets, or the way you love that book you just finished, or the way you love the characters in your favorite TV show. There’s the way you love your mailman for bringing you endless packages or the way you love your professors when they cancel class. There’s even the way you love yourself.

More varied than types of love are the ways we show love. Every person has their own love language we must learn to read. Maybe your girlfriend shows you she loves you by getting extra ketchup with fries the way you like it. Maybe your boyfriend shows his love by making sure to hold the door for you. Maybe your mom shows you she loves you by sending a GIF that says “Happy Friday!” Maybe you show yourself love by sleeping in an extra five minutes. Be sure to listen to the ways people show their love and let them know you appreciate them by extending similar gestures.

In my experience, love is more than a feeling; it’s a promise of commitment and a guarantee that you will consider another person’s best interest as well as yours. However, love is different for everyone. You have to decide what love means to you, and you have to understand what love means to the people you care about. If you’re not clear about your values and intentions, you could wind up hurting each other, but if your dynamics align, it could be magical.

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Image by Whitney K. Davis

written by
Anna Bronson
March 5, 2019