I believe the title is originally a book from 1981 by American writer Raymond Carver. There are different types of love. Affectionate love, friendship love, romantic love and spiritual love. Affectionate love expresses the fondness and natural love a parent has for their child. The love we may feel towards our family. Friendship love is the love that is freely chosen through connecting in our similarities and admiring one another’s differences. Romantic love is the appreciation for pleasure and the feeling of being deeply in love. Finally, spiritual love is the kind that is felt greatly, for it is felt within ourselves.
When we talk about the word ‘love’ what exactly do we talk about? What images, feeling, colours, memories does such a simple yet powerful word evoke? Perhaps for some it may conjure up the face of a past love and for others it may be the time they spent with their family. It may allow our senses to be heightened. I think that instead of thinking high and mighty, we must start small and simple to begin to make a difference. The simple act of kindness, that goes hand in hand with values of making a difference, creating unity and helping people. We are all capable of it.
Love makes us think of equality. A world where there is acceptance for all individuals. From the way they look, the colour of their skin, their sexuality, the clothes they wear, their beliefs and the way they may speak. If I ask you to pause for a moment, and asked you: what does love make you think and feel? Listen to the words that come inside of your mind. Whatever you hear, we are all connected in the sense that each human being wants to be loved. We want to feel connected with one another. Learning to love gives a greater appreciation towards nature and beauty without judging it, especially in a world that judges greatly.
Growing up we are taught to hide our feelings as adults. This causes us to become more inward, rather than outward in showing emotions. The strong resistance in trying to fight looking ‘weak’ and appear strong, means that we hide our greatest strength. It sounds ironic, but I deeply believe this to be true, when many of us have the capabilities of creating huge differences in how we are feeling and the energy we give into the world. Even I could not deny, how much I may limit my ability to spread simple acts of love each day. The action can be spread through words of kindness, giving a helping hand towards someone or contacting an old friend.
There are many voices everyday from the media and from those around us, that convince us to be divided in many ways. Even divided in ourselves. They say that our bodies are not beautiful enough, that our features are flawed and the colour of our skin makes us a target. Even the physical elements of how we should love are taken into tearing it down. For what benefit and gain? Acceptance is key for great change to take place. When we talk about love, we must first talk about the love that comes from within. For without it, we cannot be able to go about our day and expect to get along with everyone, if we cannot learn to be selfless and accept ourselves.
Let’s return to the four kinds of love. Affectionate love: It is the most humble of all four loves. It is the enjoyment of ones company and the fondness through familiarity, especially among family. Friendship love: It is a strong bond between people who share common interests. Romantic love: The state of ‘being in love’. It is most felt and only seeks one person. Spiritual love: This is the most selfless and unconditional love. One that causes us to spread love to those who are undeserving of love, because it comes from the decision, rather than emotions. It gives freely and asks for nothing in return. However, the emotions are boosted from the other three loves. Spiritual love strengthens the soul and fosters emotional health and self-confidence.
When we open our eyes to the realisation of how much love is within this world, we also open up to how much is within ourselves, and vice versa. Anyone is capable of selfless love. But, everyone craves the four kinds of love because it is what connects us with people. Love is to feel connected, never divided. It’s important to remember this because when we talk about love, we often mention the issues surrounding the lack of positive change. However, there is far greater change we are making and can continue to do so through mindful actions and positive feeling. Every individual has the power to create acts of kindness.
1 Corinthians 13:4-13
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.