Editor’s Note: This features on advicesisters.com has become a reader favorite over the past few years. We are re-posting it with a few changes as our “Valentine’s Day Gift” to you. We suggest you share it with someone you truly love. If there’s no one special in your life right now, consider what “could be and will be” in the future. Happy Valentines Day to all of you.
Alison Blackman, Editor in Chief, advicesisters.com
A couple of years ago, we received a letter asking us: “How do I know if the love I have is a true love?”
What is true love? It’s not an easy answer. Love is ultimately caring for and caring about another person. Love is ultimately the desire to be with and around that person. In many cases, there we have have no logical control over the person we fall in love with, nor is the selection a logical one. We know we are in love with them because we feel it. They make us feel special. Being around them makes us feel happy, maybe even euphoric.
For a love relationship to survive, the feeling has to be mutual. Love goes through phases. In the beginning it can be all consuming, you are “in love” and your day and life revolve around the object of your affection. This is the most passionate period of your relationship and it is when you really become bonded with the other person. Like a bright flame it can only burn hot for a period of time before cooling down. You still love this person but you are comfortable with them. You feel secure with them. This person is still your one true love, but it’s a tender love, not a frantic one.
It’s really not a cliche to say that two people who truly love one another are are two parts of a whole. They are in sync with one another, and you can see it in the way the look at each other and in their body language. They radiate a one-ness you can see and sense. They are individuals, but they are stronger, happier, healthier people as a couple rather than as single units.
What does it really feel like to be genuinely and deeply love in love? It’s different for every person, but it can be such a powerful, overwhelming discovery that it can overwhelm you. This isn’t lust (that’s another thing entirely). True love gives you joy, and a peaceful feeling that is always with you, even if that person isn’t with you. You trust that person. You know that there is someone who you love who loves you back just as much, and the world feels like a better place because you have been blessed with this special connection.
True love is selfless. You want your special someone to succeed. To be delighted. To be happy. In fact, you wish for their well being and happiness as much or more than your own. You would gladly make a sacrifice for that person because it is important to them, even if there was nothing at all in it for you.
Love is a sort of involuntary submission — one that you may find yourself easily and happily entering into even if you know that it makes no logical sense. When you truly love someone, you don’t stop loving them even when they irritate or disappoint you, because that’s just one tiny facet of all they are.
True love isn’t all that common, but if you find it, you’re extremely lucky.
May Your Valentines Day and every day, will be filled with joy.