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On Love

My father often spoke about his life long quest to explore what love is. He tried defining it in ways that made sense, that was logical even though love is closer to a metaphysical concept. His search began before my birth  and continues now through me 7 years after his passing. He spoke about Erik Fromme's writings, about the difference between love and libido, on how he still loved my mother after their separation and divorce. I learned a great deal from my father about the nature of love and it's power to nurture and redeem and help others.

There is need by me to utilize the head when viewing the heart. I believe many of us do this. The head is logic and the heart is emotions and passion and the center of love. 

I'll start with this:
"When the happiness of another person becomes as essential to yourself as your own, then the state of love exisits."- Robert Heinlein

18 Comments to On Love:

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Rosie Pellizzari on Monday, March 05, 2012 9:24 AM
The love that Heinlein describes is, in my opinion, parenthood. Would I throw myself in front of a bullet for my husband of 21 years ? Maybe not. My kids ? In a heartbeat without even thinking about it. The strongest love in the world is not romantic love. Romantic love is a wonder, but it's also very fickle. Not so a parent's love.
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kimberly S on Monday, March 05, 2012 10:43 AM
I would have to agree with the quote. The love between a parent and child is when the needs/happiness of the child exceeds that of the adult. Romantic love is fickle;Mature love is not so much. Romantic love is when the chemicals in your brain kick in and you feel an emotional high, exhilaration, passion, and elation when you and your lover are together. The old saying about love being blind truly describes romantic love. Many who are in the midst of romantic love want to be with their lover all the time and can overlook faults, conflict, and abuse. Infatuation is an aspect of romantic love. The scientific articles that we have read concerning infatuation report that most individuals can not sustain that type of emotional high for an extended period of time such as years and years. A person will realize that the infatuation/romantic love phase of their relationship is declining/wearing off when a sense of disillusionment sets in. Spouses will become more critical of one another, become easily irritated at things that didn't bother them earlier in their relationship, have less patience with each other, and are indifferent to the wants and feelings of each other. Mature love is the type of love you see in long-term marriages. When you are together because you want to be together and not because you need to be with one another, you have a mature love. Signs of mature love include acceptance, emotional support, commitment, calmness, respect, caring, kindness, friendship, and consideration.


Emily on Monday, March 05, 2012 4:18 PM
So Rosie, basically if your husband were targeted you'd just stand there? Very- loving, caring and thoughtful of you.


bonnie alexander on Monday, March 05, 2012 9:45 AM
the Robert Heinlein quote sums it up nicely for me, especially as you relate the separation of your parents. i recently had a somewhat similiar experience in my personal life with my husband. we had been seperated for many years but never divorced. He fell ill and for 3 years i helped take care of him,even lost a great job because of it. in the end, i gave him a dignified death,and I was the one required to make the decision to end his life. I did so, not wanting to give him back to God. I honored his wishes and to ENSURE his dignity remained intact, I did so. I represented him well as anyone who loves another would and should do. Nothing else mattered, only excellence of heart and doing the right thing while putting my feelings and what I wanted for him to the side in order to give one final gift of love and excellence.
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Emily on Monday, March 05, 2012 2:54 PM
...please don't talk about love tonight.
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Holly Dana on Monday, March 05, 2012 7:52 PM
Forrest Gump, "I'm not a smart man... but I know what love is." I believe sums it up best! Going on 17 years of marriage and yes I would take a bullet for him and my stepson and my daughters. Although romantic love may not be sustainable for long periods of time it doesnt have to die in order for a mature love to exist. Just like marriage, its hard work to make it successful, its possible to keep romantic love alive, it takes hard work through intelligence, creativity, and the desire to keep it alive. The big question: Do you love me because you need me or do you need me because you love me? Love exists when the heart becomes stronger than the head. Yes, acceptance, emotional support, commitment, calmness, respect, caring, kindness, friendship, and consideration are all signs of a mature love, its all that and then some despite the faults and overlooking the disillusions because of a greater love.
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Laurent on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 7:44 PM
Taking a bullet is an interesting litmus test for the existence of love or definition. Overcoming the instinct for self preservation would be extreme to say the least and is a big, 'what if..?' so I will leave it alone for now. True love, that is 'unconditional love', as I define it is more profound and difficult to pin down. I saw it at a young age and had a role model to follow in my parents. They loved each other since they met in 1947. Through their divorce in 1973 and their close friendship, ending at my father's death in 2002. No matter their differences, no matter their difficulties, they loved each other, no matter what. That is why I remain friends with many ex-girl friends. Unconditional love. How do you define it?
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Emily on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 8:36 PM
Your parents weren't together entirely to the end, they loved each other for what they had. Otherwise they'd have stayed married together forever.


kimberly on Thursday, March 08, 2012 10:50 AM
Also, some say, you can love a person, just not fully heart and soul. [the instance of your parents, Laurent] and I am sure they did love each other....just maybe "not enough." [to withstand a longer marriage/desire of others/ etc] another popular saying is, "Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with everything they have." People love differently, and not always equally.


BAM on Friday, March 09, 2012 4:18 PM
I believe you can deeply love someone, but not be able to live with that person, or be married to that person. To have a lasting marriage, in addition to a deep, mature love, you also need similar vision of your future together. Something to build on. Just because you love each other, it does not always mean you share the same goals. Certainly, your personal goals may be influenced by your loved one and can change over time, but will they become the same goals as your loved one's? Will you lose your voice? What about couples who love each other passionately, but do not agree on things like financial goals, or how to raise children. Love does not always conquer all, but it does help. To get to the unconditional love part of this conversation... I recently said to someone that I liked my 21 year old son. That person laughed and said "of course you do!" I replied that I love my son, because he is my child and I will love him forever, but that does not mean I have to like him. But I do! I think he is funny, interesting, intelligent, talented, shall I keep going?? lol


kimberly on Friday, March 09, 2012 8:31 PM
Well said Bam. I agree fully.


bonnie alexander on Friday, March 09, 2012 9:48 PM
Laurent attenuates his point: he had the role model of unconditional love from his parents, and carries it with him to this day. I can hope to have given the same example to my daughter, so that she too will carry it in her heart for always. Most excellent.


BAM on Saturday, March 10, 2012 11:47 AM
Speaking of carrying something in your heart, here is a lovely e e cummings poem: i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling) i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)


kimbely on Thursday, March 08, 2012 10:45 AM
interesting notion..... And I do think there is a big difference between loving someone, and being IN LOVE with someone. many people divorce or reak up, and still deeply care for the person, but no longer wish to be with them, because they are no longer in love with them. love takes different forms, love of a family pet, love of a child, love of a parent, love of a friend, lover, spouse, etc. I do agree about self preservation instinct, but I have never heard a parent say they would not die for their children. That is something that is so strong, which is probably part of the preservation instinct, to protect their young. I think women may have this instinct more than men, being maternal beings. "Unconditional love is a term that means to love someone regardless of their actions or beliefs. It is a concept comparable to true love, a term which is more frequently used to describe love between lovers. By contrast, unconditional love is frequently used to describe love between family members, comrades in arms and between others in highly committed relationships" [not my statement, its from psychology studies of love] But I do agree. Love of a mate/spouse/lover should have some conditions....you do not want to spend the rest of your life with someone who makes you miserable, or mistreats you, bc you "love them unconditionally" Love is certainly a difficult thing to define, but people say when you feel it, you just know. I do think it changes as we grow, how we define it, what we want it to look like, what we need from a partner, etc.
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Laurent on Friday, March 09, 2012 7:04 PM
Wound by Christy Barnes A wound awoke me. Its bitter pain broke me A pathway into the world, A passageway, so that I heard In my heart when a wounded-one Spoke me A soul-burdened word. And without it - I never could know What troubles you so, Or even breathe in The being of air, Or the flight of a bird, Or the height of a star, Or could love What you are.
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Swan D. on Monday, March 12, 2012 3:46 PM
Love, like time, can be considered an illusion. There is saying that goes "Nothing has any meaning but that which we give it." It is all perception, which begins with the mind, and trickles down to the heart, which leads to emotion and behaviour corresponding with a person's beliefs. Love is classified as many things by different people. Love can be conditional or unconditional, depending on the individual's definition. It doesn't necessarily mean that the object of their "love" defines it the same way, in which case, would eventual create conflict. I think love can be two basic things: general love (as in love for relatives, pets, etc.), and romantic love. True love, which is generally attached to the romantic kind, is mostly considered as love without reservations, the ultimate kind of love shared with, say, a life partner. It is still backed up by the foundation of general love, otherwise, it's just lust. Technically, a person who is "in love" is so only if the other person feels the same kind of love in return. Otherwise, a person feeling romantic love, and the other feeling general love (not romantic) for them in return, are people who do love each other but with one person being in a sort of unrequited love. Unfortunately, many people cannot make this distinction within themselves or in other people before it is too late and hearts get broken. As for general love, there seems to be more varying degrees of it, depending on who you ask! You can generally love someone but not wish to or be able to speak to them; for example, a person in jail for a violent crime or a person with Alzheimer's who doesn't remember you at all. General love can be one-way, whereas true romantic love is not widely accepted as anything other than a mutual state. General love can be conditional or unconditional, depending on the degree of love; Romantic love can also be conditional or unconditional, depending on the perspectives of the person or the couple. People in true romantic love, a rare honour, tend to not have to concern themselves regarding conditions because they are so set on each other in the first place that it would be highly unlikely that either of them would make a misstep so severe that might dilute or destroy the love on either or both sides. Yet, true romantic love already has unspoken, logical conditions built-in, otherwise, if certain lines were crossed, it wouldn't be true love anymore. Unrequited romantic love is one-way just as general love can be. As previously mentioned, it all starts and ends with your Mind. I've written this amidst errands and so I'm not sure if I articulated this in the best way, but I thought these fragments might be broaden some horizons. ;)
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Laurent on Monday, June 11, 2012 11:14 AM
Thank you all for your Blog comments on love. Isn't it impressive and inspiring that we are so moved by the questions regarding the nature of love. Please continue your journeys as will I on loving better and more, every day.
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