What love is

The definition of love has probably been one of the most wanted and researched along the history of mankind. When thinking about love, men and children recall different things, things that are even different than the ones recalled either by girls and women. Perhaps this is why its definition has always been so elusive.

To understand love, however, you won't need to read a thousand books about the topic. We have found that love has only got a few ingredients.

The ingredients of love

Loving, basically, implies providing these things to another being: your time, your contact, your closeness, your trust and also your care. Now, in greater detail:

For a child, the most important thing in life are his or her parents. Every child feels himself a part of them, as they are the source of their happiness, their guides, their masters, their shelter and protection. Taking this into account, a child will feel loved if he receives the attention of the other, say, significant parts of himself. For a child, the concept of 'quality time' does not exist. He will feel loved if he has his parents near; if not, no. As for us, humans as we are, this is what we learnt to feel, and we carry this same feeling until the day in which we are buried.

Love means time. The more the time, the more the love the other person feels he is receiving. Without your time, your love is a fantasy.

Notwithstanding, loving does not only mean giving someone else only your time. A child who has his parents beside all day, but doesn't connect with at any moment can feel as lonely and abandoned as a child who never knew his parents. An absurd example to illustrate it: Imagine you are two years old and you receive from your father, who is working all day in front of his computer, although next to you, a printed paper that reads 'I love you, son' as an expression of love. Obviously, that is not a good way to express love. Hence, we say that love does not only require time. It also requires connection, but that's not all.

Time and connection by themselves do guarantee, say, a good 'loving transaction'. Love also requires the other person to be available to receive your time and connection. There why the third ingredient of love is closeness. Person A might be very willing to give some love to person B, but if person B is thinking about the bills he needs to pay, person A will feel ignored and person B will feel fooled instead of loved. During a loving communication process both individuals are available to give and receive the time and contact. Do you remember when you were a boy or girl and you forgot the rest of the world while you were playing with your best friend? You met after lunch and you went back home just before the sunset or when either of your parents called, but you never noticed how fast or slow time went by. It was the same the next time you met: You just kept on playing, forgetting the rest of the world again. True love achieves that level of closeness.

If you would like to double-check, think of a couple of forever-loving teenage boyfriend and girlfriend or a husband and his wife and you will agree. If you want an extra proof, ask yourself why your dogs come close to you and roll asleep while you are surfing the Internet in front of your computer.

We would like to highlight that love requires -and let's emphasize this: requires- human contact of some kind. Children get very happy when they hear the key at the door in the evening because that means mum or dad are getting back home. You know what happens next: as soon as the door opens, they just leave what they are doing and run to the door and hug and kiss their parents because they just can't help it. As for teens, now you see why they can spend four or five hours a day connected to their on-line profiles or instant messaging systems simply because even this virtual kind of human contact is a wonderful way for them to feel themselves loved. Again, love means time, love means connection and love means closeness, which also includes contact.

That's not all, though. Love is not be love without trust. Children have full blind trust in their parents because they know they will never try to hurt them on purpose. Parents also trust their children blindly, and lines like "if my son says he didn't do it, it's because he didn't do it!" prove it again and again. Moreover, a son who learns to distrust his parents loses a lot of love and no surprise he soon lowers his self-esteem too.

Last but not least, loves means care. Those who don't care for the ones who love them are either called selfish or egocentric. Enough said, loving implies caring for the ones you love.

As you see, love is much more than a feeling. It is a commitment you undertake with the person you have decided to love to. Remembering this is very important to have healthy relationships.

Knowledge + You