I believe we should be asking ourselves “What is the meaning of love?” more often than we usually do.
It’s not uncommon these days to end up dating someone without knowing exactly what the outcome will be. We don’t know where this intimate bond stands, either between friendship and committed love, or outside of these two poles. That’s why current generations emphasize this open-ended ambiguity with sayings such as “seeing each other,” “being friends” or “dating.”
Two things remain unchanging while developing interest in someone, whether it be from a two-date period to a defined relationship; Our self and our psychological attributions. Our projections of insecurities and natural attitudes remain, but in the face of a romantic phase they take place against a seemingly different world.The world slightly changes when we’re in love: things seem more positive and don’t matter as much as they should, but in spite of that our insecurities and innate attitudes remain.
The infamous statement “It’s not you, it’s me” allows the speaker to shoulder the blame without explicitly confronting what the problem is. Following a break-up, more often than not, we reflect on what we should or shouldn’t have done. In the early stages of dating, however, some of us scrupulously analyze our text messages, become incredibly vigilant about seduction strategies and try to figure out what our potential partner likes. We readily accept to go on a quest to know what the other likes in order to hide the qualities we think would repel them. Sometimes we simply shut ourselves to an increase of romantic opportunities for various reasons. We put a stop to moving forward in a relationship for reasons that have nothing to do with the partner we’re with.
In the aftermath of a relationship, the motto “just be yourself” can’t help us when we fall into thinking that we did something wrong—which is why this advice is usually given before the relationship stage, otherwise it’s useless. Most of us are ready to compromise our identity in a heartbeat for the chance to succeed in loving someone. This adaptive behaviour can take place subconsciously with the presence of the other that makes us have an intuitive burst of adoration for them. Sometimes a simple glance at our partner makes us freeze and lose the confidence that we have no issue nurturing with other people.
What do any of these examples say about us and our view of love?
I believe that more often than not these behaviours reveal a crucial lack of understanding of our subconscious belief about the meaning of love. Before, during and after dating someone, we should be asking ourselves more than once about the meaning of love.
“What is love?” is a question that is more complicated than what it might seem. It’s another way of asking, “What does love mean to me?”
Figuring that out, or at least being aware of the uncertainty of the answer, could help us be careful and healthy in our romantic life. That way, we can decrease the chances of becoming traumatized from relationships and views projected onto us by social discourses.
We can begin to understand the kind of person we are when it comes to loving someone other than ourselves. In this way, to be in love is both a challenge and a revelation of our most innate attitude toward the world, which explains the need to understand our core beliefs concerning this mindset.
Some of us feel comfortable diving headfirst into a new relationship weeks or days after the previous one ended. Others would rather take it slow to avoid being hurt again. Asking “what does love mean to me?” often leads us to more philosophical questions that are crucial to maintaining a healthy mindset when we fall in love. Why do I love this person and not someone else? What am I ready to give up for a partner? What do I see, or miss, in the affection given to me by my partner? What do I want out of my romantic relationships?
Once we have set clear expectations, we can comfortably let love sweep us off our feet. We’ll know we have the appropriate psychological resources to take hold of ourselves when our mind starts to run amok amid all the action love generates.
Graphic by Lily Minkova