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What Is Love? 

What Your Mama Never Told You But Should Have

"You Will Be Shocked!!!" 

By: Tim Taylor

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What Is Love And Is It Unconditional

From our elementary days, we humans have been toying with the thought of love. Remember the basic survey that was passed around on school grounds. “I love you. Do you love me? Check this box for yes and this box for no.” Who can forgot the they love me, they love me not flower petal test? Valentine's Day is somewhat of a memorial for love. With all the fuss about love, you would think it's easily attainable and definable. But with all the dating sites, talk shows and how to books, it's evident we're no close to knowing what love is than we were in our attempts during the elementary years. Can we say for certain what love is or isn't? Is it a feeling? Is it biological, metaphysical or both? Is love static or in a perpetual state of flux? Are humans the only ones capable of love? Learning the answer to these questions will get us closer to having love reveal its true self.


Ask a person what love is and you'll get a response that's as varied as the unique personality of the one attempting to answer your question. One things for sure is it's universally accepted that whatever love is it's at least perceived as a good thing. Take note of the ease at which individuals wax on about it or sulk for a lack of experiencing it. For that reason, many see love as a feeling. If they feel all warm and fuzzy about someone, then it's love. If they sense anger or disgust and recoil, then it's not. That would be a good meter if it were not for the fact that there are times when even the ones we love the most and would readily give our last for their welfare, make us feel those latter sensations if only for a moment. There have been times when siblings stated to each other that if they met the other on the street, they wouldn't give them the time of day. Does that make them love each other any less? So it's clear that love transcends physical feelings.


Biological actions attributed to love can be just as dubious. For years, men exclusively held the patent of sex with no feelings toward his participant. Now, women are joining the ranks. So a physical display of love is not as trustworthy as it appears. If love is of the soul-ish, faith or metaphysical realm, then where's the dividing part for evil? It's been said to exist in the same realm. Considering the above questions, it's safe to assume love really isn't as easy to define as you think. Or at the very least, the definitions that held weight are no longer valid. The following submission may not sit well with some, but in order to render down what love is, you are going to have to find its source and how it acts.


Logic dictates that we humans disqualify ourselves as the originators of love. Whether you believe in God or evolution, you can't escape the fact that we had a beginning. We were created. We also have to accept that humans have shown themselves to be capable of committing horrific acts toward their fellow man while at the same time showing great compassion to those we deem worthy of it. Is love that cruel, selfish and shallow? Throughout the eons, the greatest minds known among mankind have been left wondering what this desirable thing is. Since it's unlikely we'll be able to get to the root of what love is by studying mankind, we have to look to the immaterial or spiritual possibility of love's true essence and domain.


Regardless to which one you subscribe to, most individuals who believe in a God, believe God is a loving God. What does that mean? Well, it means that this God created them, as all others, with the intent to look after them for their good. Being that God created all things, nothing is greater than himself. So, we created beings can't truly give God anything; nor can we add or take away from God's person. Therefore, if God is love and created us with the intent to provide for us, the best possible definition of love is the willful intent to give of oneself on the behalf of someone else even if they're not capable or unwilling to respond in kind. So from a divine aspect, it appears that love is a noun expressed in a verb or action. Even we humans need to see a display of some kind before we accept someone's words of love as authentic.

When you consider love in this format, it allows for some expressions that before now didn't fit in your view of love. Now, certain feelings or emotions displayed in the name of love make more sense. As stated before, love is not a feeling, but love or “loving” evokes feelings. Not just the nice ones either. Because of love, you can show anger, fear, even hate toward others. If love has the capacity to bring about such emotions, then how much more rejected or trampled on love? This question takes us to the second part of the question. Is love unconditional?


This next dissertation will be cause for much heated debate. Many psychiatrists, psychologists, journalists, notable and influential names in the professional and celebrity arena have made the statement that love is unconditional. To show proof, they make reference to the relationship a mother has with her child and to a lesser degree the lasting and unbroken commitment of fidelity a couple has. It is rather difficult to affirm unequivocably that love isn't unconditional, but it's quite easy to prove that the examples given do very little in proving that love is unconditional. To the contrary, it proves the exact opposite belief of love. Even down to the divine nature of love. Let's first tackle the child, mother scenario. While no one would argue the love a mother has for their child, which I've always wondered why so few take note of a father's love for their child when trying to give an example. Surely because he didn't carry the babe in his body for nine months makes his love less powerful, but I digress; Unconditional means not conditional or limited; absolute, unqualified unconditioned. Here is where the example unravels.


The average mother does give of herself on the behalf of her child's well-being even though the child is incapable of showing appreciation or deferred agreement to repay the love shown. However, the degree to which a mother displays her love to the child is predicated upon the child being her child. That is the condition. Granted, some individuals will go to great lengths to ensure the well-being of weak and defenseless children as if they were their own. But once again, the condition to them doing those acts is the perceived weak and defenseless condition of the child. The same holds true for a couple who's has remained faithful to one another. The condition is the partner being their chosen companion. They didn't just pick any warm body off the street and decided to build a relationship with them in spite of the other. The condition was their mutual desire for each other prompted the fidelity.


Virtually every example given in an attempt to show love's unconditional character is debunked with only the slightest evaluation. I've heard of someone unthinkingly running into a burning building to save a person in distress. The condition lies in the fact that one human being deems another human being as having enough value that they're willing to risk their lives to save someone else. Some have even did it for an animal. Still, the condition is the state of a perceived helpless animal needing assistance. Would someone dare do it for the lowly cock roach or how about the innocent living house plant that supplied you with all that free oxygen? No, my friend, the love we have is steeped in conditions. Even the divine love comes with conditions.


Take the Judeo-Christian belief. The belief is that God is love and his love is unconditional. The most known verse in their bible is John 3:16 for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes on him should not perish but have everlasting life. That seems to be the smoking gun to unconditional love. God and his Son working in concert so that everyone on earth can get to heaven. But if you observe the passage along with other verses in the bible, you'll discover that the everlasting life comes with a condition of believing on his Son. Also they're other verses that allude to why God gave his Son in the first place. Psalms 24:1 The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein. Another in Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine. Where's the condition. The soul, the earth, and all the inhabitants are God's. He may or may not have done it if they were not created by him but we don't know that for sure. We can only think that his nature would cause him to show love in that way. Once we get into the thinking realm, we become subjective. That leaves love open to anyone's opinion; and that takes us further away from what love is.


I guess the best we can do is say we love and show it by our words and action. It's no wonder poets are admired for their ability to personify love by using emotional words and verses. Words are the key that allows you to open loves door and prove your sentiments to be true or no. Consider Holidays such as Valentine's, Christmas and rolling special events like birth and anniversary dates; even seemingly ordinary days, we show our and appreciation by giving cards and words of gratitude to those we hold dear. Yes, love poems that help us with defining our targeted love is a necessary part of our being. That's a good adjective to help us better understand love; not unconditional, but targeted. 


The best example of love would be a playground's see-saw. It's useless without someone on the other side to share in with the event. It's the one apparatus that can't be enjoyed without the company of another. Unfortunately, it's not a perfect example, because where as emotions and feelings have their ups and downs like a see-saw or roller coaster, love is either their or it isn't. You can be up and have love, but you can also be down and still have love...Go figure. So I would say love is a desire to give of one's self on the behalf of another. And in our quest to be loved, we look for someone who has that same desire to reciprocate that expression.