I just published this article in my newsletter Kiss & Tell, but thought I would share it here as well for those who don’t subscribe.
Sometimes my clients ask me “What is love?” This is a difficult question. Some people say, “You’ll know when you’re in love,” but that seems rather vague for such strong feelings. Others share loads of emotions like bliss, ecstasy, romance, etc.
Let me provide a few definitions to see how they shed light on this thought-provoking and powerful question. According to Dictionary.com, the first three listed meanings for the word “LOVE” are:
1. A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
2. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection
3. Sexual passion or desire
Well that certainly sums up how we normally think of love – the everyday concept.
TIME magazine ran an article in February, 1993 explaining how scientists were finally studying love, previously avoided because of its warm and fuzzy, non-scientific-ness. Elaine Hatfield, author of Love, Sex, and Intimacy: Their Psychology, Biology, and History, says love ”…is not merely a conceit; it is bred into our biology.” Hats off to you Elaine for bravely studying love even though you were told it would ruin your career.
And we’ve come a long way. Today, many PhD -social researchers work for online dating sites like Dr. Pepper Schwartz for Perfectmatch.com and Dr. Helen Fisher for Chemistry.com, designing matching systems to find points of commonality and assure a good match.
Here’s what Rabbi Schnitzer from CT said to his congregation years ago, “Love is to accept with enthusiasm that which is less than perfect. It involves willingness to accept imperfection…enthusiastically. Anybody can be stirred by perfection… But that is not love; it is admiration…when you reach out and accept without distain, the less than perfect, you show your capacity for love.’”
There is tremendous truth to this statement. We better hope love means accepting a lack of perfection or none of us will ever be loved! After all, who is perfect? The Rabbi goes on to say that love starts with self-love. Amen to that. If you do not love and respect yourself, the hopes of finding love from another are extremely bleak.
Plenty of other religions discuss love too. I found a book about Buddhism and love, entitled, What is Love? A Simple Buddhist Guide to Romantic Happiness. The author, Taro Gold, states, “You, just as you are, deserve all the love and joy in the world.” Beautifully stated, this reinforces the Rabbi’s idea that love means embracing imperfection.
As a dating coach for women over 40, to me, the real question is, “If you want love, what are you going to do about it?” Ahhh, that’s the million dollar question. On a rare occasion, love has found people who have done absolutely nothing to attract it. But, for the vast majority, you’ll have to do something. For some, it might mean trying online dating, or going to a social event, and maybe asking their friends and family if they know any single men for a blind date. After all, it’s a viable option and how I found my husband.
It goes without saying that doing the same thing over and over again will not produce new results. But, I’m saying it anyway because for some reason, lots of people need to hear it.
If you believe that you deserve love, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Make a commitment to yourself. Think up a plan, (work with me as your coach), get out there and meet new people. As many as you can. The more you meet, the better your chances of finding a good match. Someone you can love even though they have imperceptions and who will love you for yours as well.