Love. Arguably the most ambiguous of all abstractions. For centuries human beings have suffered, pondered, and declared their unique perspectives on love. Despite these efforts no universally accepted definition of love exists. I don’t have any idea what love is either. Instead I offer a backwards solution: define with unshakeable certainty what love is not.
Love is not sympathy.
Sympathy: “an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other” – Merriam Webster
The ability to feel sympathetic for someone else does not translate into loving that person. It is possible to express sympathy for another, while equally hating that person. Sympathy is an act of love, not love in itself.
Love is not lust.
Lust: “usually intense or unbridled sexual desire” – Merriam Webster
I would be amiss to deny that physical attraction plays a role in the love equation. It does. However there are many more variables involved in the complex love formula. Thus, lust is not love. Everyone lusts and few people love.
Love is not martyrdom or manipulation.
Martyrdom: “the suffering of death on account of adherence to a cause and especially to one’s religious faith” – Merriam Webster
Manipulation: “to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage” – Merriam Webster
Martyrdom and Manipulation are two sides of the same coin. In this scenario one person suffers consistently and the other wields undisputable controlling power. Together they are M&M’s. M&M’s are not love.
I love you – Barry