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Love: The most profound human emotion

Who haven't fallen in love? For us humans, love is one of the most profound experiences we have in our lives. Love is defined as a set of feelings and behaviours characterised by intimacy, passion, and commitment. This relationship is characterised by care, closeness, protectiveness, attraction, affection, and trust. Love can evolve over time and have varying degrees of intensity. It can produce positive emotions such as joy, excitement, life satisfaction, and euphoria, as well as negative emotions such as jealousy and stress. Both biological and cultural factors are likely to play a role in love. While hormones and biology play a role, our personal conceptions of love have an impact on how we express and experience love.

A women and man hug showing love
Illustration by Anagha

For once, it is quite impossible to define love in a single way. And it is difficult to express love as one that belongs to only few people. A lot of people don't understand the true essence of love. It isn't about having that partner and taking them around and posting pics with them. It is all about being there for one another. Love could be of any form, and could be between any gender.

But why is someone like me who has never had a single partner talking about love that involves intimacy, passion and commitment? How will I know whether love brings joy or satisfaction to you guys? Well, that isn't exactly what I wanted to talk about. However if we were to think about that, one could say I know about love because I am a human being as well. For me love is like any other characteristic I have. It exists within me too. I simply have to channel it in a different way.

So if not to others, to whom does my love go to? This is a question that have seldom arose when I speak to someone about any kind of affection. Many could find this cliche or even crazy at time, but I really do give love to everyone the same manner. Quantity and quality probably differs depending upon how good our relationship is going, but overall I haven't, and probably won't, fix an amount of love for anyone. Even if I know that the other person might just ghost me, I don't have to care. You give and you will get for it sooner or later. This is the mantra that has unconsiously driven me all these years.

Yet we haven't spoken about the most important aspect of love. Loving yourself. This is something we all can't do in a proper manner. Somewhere along the lines of evolution, our biology has made us to love others, but seldom ourselves. We have a fight or flight response for everything we encounter. But have we ever had a "let me love myself" response coming very naturally to us? If it happens to you then simply you are going the right way and maybe you are even a bit lucky. But chances are many of you who are reading this are not loving themselves. At least to the extend they should.

It's amazing how much people's lives improve when they begin to love themselves more each day. They are relieved. They get the jobs they want. They have all of the funds they require. Their relationships either improve or the negative ones end, and new ones begin. It's a simple premise—love yourself. I've been chastised for being too simplistic, but I've discovered that the simplest things are often the most profound. Someone recently said to me, "You gave me the most wonderful gift—you gave me the gift of yourself." So many of us hide from ourselves, and we don't even know who we are. We don't know how we feel or what we want. Life is a journey of self-discovery.

I used to despise myself. I despised my appearance, I despised being shy, I despised feeling stupid and unachieved, and I despised not being one of the popular kids. Every time I messed up or disappointed myself, an inner voice told me that I was a failure, stupid, ugly, and worthless unless I could get it together. I was convinced. I also thought that if these things were true about me, I didn't deserve to be loved until I was "perfect." For most of my teen years, I let thoughts of hatred, judgement, rejection, and fear poison my mind.

Growing up, I was most familiar with love that was conditional, toxic, and selfish. It frequently made me feel neglected and ashamed. I yearned to be noticed. I desired to be loved regardless of how I appeared or what I could or could not do. I wished to be sufficient. The emotional neglect I had experienced for so long had resulted in an unhealthy need for attention and a search for someone who could love me. I was looking for a love who would see me, accept me, and make me happy. However, as I became involved in a variety of relationships, I realised that the love I sought was not truly what I desired and was frequently insufficient. It was difficult at first to love myself. As I began to leave behind toxic relationships with people, work environments, and beliefs, I encountered various forms of negativity. But loneliness was one of the most difficult things I had to deal with. I'd spent so much time focusing on being enough for everyone but myself that when I started to push back, I pushed out and away, leaving me alone and vulnerable to the unknown. Nonetheless, I found strength in the friends who stood by me and showed me true love during this time of loneliness, and I realised that I was enough for myself.

Life is an adventure through self-discovery. To me, being enlightened means going within and discovering who and what we truly are, as well as understanding that we have the ability to change for the better by loving and caring for ourselves. It is not self-indulgent to love oneself. It purges us, allowing us to love ourselves enough to love others. Individually, we can truly help the planet if we come from a place of deep love and joy.

The Power that created this amazing Universe is frequently referred to as love. God is pure love. We've all heard the expression, "Love makes the world go round." This is true. Love is the unifying force that holds the entire Universe together. Love, to me, is a deep appreciation. When I say we should love ourselves, I mean we should appreciate who we are. We should accept all aspects of ourselves—our quirks, our embarrassments, the things we don't do so well, and all of our wonderful qualities.

People-pleasing is a futile endeavour. You can build your self-esteem and break codependent patterns by focusing on self-love and self-compassion rather than trying to get others to love you. This allows you to form healthier, happier relationships with yourself and others.

A lot of times, keeping yourself out of the equation can have a lot of effect on you. Unless you are a saint who doesn't care about being loved back even a pinch, we all need it. We need it from others and must have it from ourselves as well. Loving myself has taught me that I don't have to measure my worth by the standards of others. Loving myself has allowed me to face myself, see every aspect of myself, and accept myself completely. And, while I still have to deal with negative voices in my head from time to time, I no longer believe them. Giving myself grace and trusting that there is beauty and goodness in my heart has taught me to love myself. My heart has become more dynamic, understanding, and strong as a result of self-love. Today, unconditional love for myself is the norm.

Also let me remind you. In this pursuit of love, don't forget to help those in your way as well. Just look into the eyes of a person and you could see whether they need your love or not. Or whether they need a push to love themselves. When you reach a pinnacle, reach down to help someone up as well. What better way of self love than having someone else along with you too who knows you and understands you? You are you because of you and because of those few who are with you. Keep them near and surely they will help you be yourself.

"You need your own love to save your heart" - Rithvik Singh


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