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There is one universal commonality among all people on earth, perhaps the only thing that crosses every border and connects us all, and that is the power of love. How we express love and rituals around the idea of love may vary depending on cultural practices and traditions. But at the end of the day, most humans would cease to exist without some form of love and connection to other humans.

I have spent much time reminiscing over the idea of love and what it actually means. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my childhood was spent watching romantic comedies, enjoying Valentine’s day celebrations, and hearing of love stories with only happy endings. The boy always seemed to get the girl and the girl always somehow got the boy. The ideas of soul mate, the one, a life partner, fate, destiny, etc etc became truths that were securely planted in my brain.

Love, one often believes, is something that comes in a form, is something we go out in the world and find in someone or something else. That is if we are lucky. Jealousy, passion, envy, attachment, and possessiveness are all considered natural human emotions in the love department. One must begin to wonder, is that really what love is?

Love defined by dictionary.com is “a profoundly tender, passionate emotion for another person” or “a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person, sweetheart.” But wait. What about the people who don’t have a passionate emotion for another person, boyfriend, girlfriend, sweetheart, parent etc etc? Do they not have love? Are they not just as human as those who apparently have love? Is love so dependent on another person?

Personally, I was not able to answer these questions for a long time. As time went on parents were divorced, tears were shed, hearts were broken, and crushes and boyfriends came and went. Life, and my attachments, somehow continued on as usual and I survived. But then I had my first heartbreak and I lost someone very close to me. I admit, I thought life as I knew it was over.

This experience acted as the impetus for my discovering a new truth. And that is the following: love is not a man or a woman who broke your heart or someone you lost. LOVE IS YOU. Love is your core, your heart, your ultimate truest being and that love never disappears. Another person, a form, can allow us to feel a love that we already have within us, but they cannot give us love and they cannot take it away.

Humans need love and care to survive, there is no question. But the ideas and definitions we have created around love – and what it should look like – is something to be questioned. The more one comes to understand that compassion, kindness, and spirit are love itself, the more one can experience the love that manifests universally, at all times and in all forms. When we cease to look on the exterior for a “soul mate” or the one to give us love, we realize that we always have the love we are looking for.

What do you think about love? Do you believe someone can give you love? How do you experience the feelings and emotions of love?