I Know What Love Isn't

November 20, 2011
Everyone in the world has heard of “that little thing called love.” It’s only a four letter word; no elaborate sounds. No tricky spelling. Such a small, simple, easy-to-say word should have such a small, simple, easy meaning. But, love is not small. It is not simple. And, it is not easy to understand.

A four-year old child was once asked what love is. After a moment of thinking, she replied to her day-care teacher, “When my grandma got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So, my grandpa does it for her all the time, even though his hands have arthritis, too. That’s love.” If a four-year old has such a pure and real understanding of the word “love”, everyone should understand what real love is.

However, not many people do. Hard to imagine, right? It’s just a small, simple, four-letter word! Even a four-year old understands it! But at a certain age, love is confused with the word lust. And, once everyone finds out the meaning of lust, the meaning of love is forgotten.

Walking down a hall, you can count the number of couples walking together, “attached at the hip”, groping, kissing, and climbing “all over” each other. It seems like that’s all they ever do. No words are shared between the couple: no sweet smile, no soft look. They only touch each other. “I can feel he loves me when we do things like that” they’ll answer when they’re asked about it. “Plus, that way, people know he’s mine.”

Love is not a make-out session in a hall or climbing on top of each other. Love is not claiming a person like a piece of property. Love is a small peck on the cheek or a simple, “See ya later!” Love is being with someone because of who they are, not what they do for you. It is feeling perfectly wanted without a single touch. Love is being able to feel love without being felt.

Then, there are couples who are only with each other for show. They “parade” around together, holding hands, making scenes in public places. They put each other on pedestals for people to look at them. “Look at how expensive this ring is!” “Oh he says the cutest things!” They never take a step back from their put-on relationship long enough to be real with each other.

Love is not about wanting to be noticed. It’s not about being with someone because of how they make you look. Love is spending time together, doing absolutely nothing, and yet doing everything imaginable. It’s the moments where you sit together, saying not a word, but still understanding everything that person has to say. Love is not whispering sweet nothings and making empty promises. Love is never about putting yourself first or trying to be better than someone else. Love wants the best for each other.

And then, there are couples who are never truly themselves. It’s a relationship based on “I hope he thinks I look okay”, or “No! I can’t say (or do) that in front of him!” So worried about what the other person thinks, they never stop and have time to be a true person. It’s another one of those “for show” relationships where everything looks so perfect and artificial. There is nothing real. Nothing deep. And nothing true.

Love is never fake. It is never about putting on a show for what the other person wants to hear or see. It’s arguing and fighting when there’s a problem, instead of pretending it doesn’t exist to keep the “perfect relationship” so perfect. It’s rolling around on the floor in laughter as your face goes red, or letting him watch your mascara run while you’re crying. Love is laughing at your mistakes instead of hiding them. Love is never feeling embarrassed; it’s about saying what you really mean, and doing what you really want. Love is being comfortable and close.

Love is happiness. It’s spending those few moments laughing at a joke only the two of you would understand, and not even caring if everyone sees how silly you look. It’s about finding the small imperfections and knowing everything about them....and never wanting to change a single thing.

As another four-year old answered, “Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still best friends even after they know each other so well.” And honestly, once the true meaning of love is known, it’s something simple to understand. Because after all....love is just a small, simple, four-letter word used to describe how someone makes you feel. But so is lust.

Join the Discussion

This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

sarah98 said...
Jun. 28, 2013 at 9:44 am
being only 14, ive never been in love, but i see people everyday that seem to believe that love is only physical. i loved this article because its so frank, and your main points all make sense but are still sopmehow poetic
Nessa13 said...
May 22, 2013 at 9:51 am
I beleive in everything here<3 I have only ever fallen in love once, but none of my relationships have included sex in them. I believe that you should actually be in the relationship before you bring sex into it. SO yes! You are an amazing writer! Keep writting!
jennee21_ann replied...
Jun. 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm
i'm so glad to hear that you agree! that means so much to me! thank you so much! (:
Nessa13 said...
May 22, 2013 at 9:48 am
I completly agree with every thing here<3 I have only fallen in love once and none of my relationships have been about sex. EVER! You are an amazing writer<3 good job!! (:
choirchic101 said...
Jan. 23, 2012 at 12:55 am
I like it and agree with everything you are saying. Love is a simple word that gets changed so many times its hard to see the real meaning of it. Love is the grandma and grandpa just sitting next to each other on the porch. No words were exchanged but they knew everything that the other wanted to say. I love this
jennee21_ann replied...
Jun. 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm
thank you!! (:
Nick5 said...
Dec. 5, 2011 at 10:53 pm
I wouldn't agree any word is "simple". If words were "simple" then why would we have english in school? Words are not at all simple, each word represents a "thing" or a description of that "thing". Using a word is unleasing a power that should not be underestimated. Calling a word simple is like calling Mozart stupid. Good article though.
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