What Is Love?
There are many different theories as to what love is, but there is no definitive answer. Here is a fantastic overview of love according to 5 writers based on their knowledge in their respective fields. Science, psychotherapy, philosophy, literature, and religion.
All their descriptions about love are correct, however instead of separating them by field, they should be combined to create a more complex description of love. Because that’s exactly what love is. Complex, irrational, illogical and chemically addictive. As Jim Al-Khalili states, love can be described as neurochemical effect in the body. It can be categorised in to different types, which are well explained by Philippa Perry and it is the bittersweet paradox Catherine Wybourne describes it to be.
Perhaps the most profound kind of love is the love for a partner in an intimate relationship, be it long term or otherwise. This is the kind I will be focusing on today. This love is the most intense love people face and encompasses many feelings and emotions that are deep, rarely felt and often hard to process.
To me, love is an umbrella term, under which deep feelings, emotions and attachment for someone based on their individual differences lay.
I don’t believe it’s possible to love two separate sexual partners the same way, because you fall in love with their individual qualities and express it to them in a unique way. This explains why it’s hard to compare love for one person to another, and why people never find the feelings of love they are expecting to feel based on previous relationships with someone different.
So now that we have an idea of what love is, what makes us fall in love?
I do believe in love at first site, and if it is in fact a real thing, it’s an extremely rare occurrence and often confused with lust at first site. They’re both responsible for strong emotions, which is where the confusion lies.
The difference being that love at first sight encompasses the persons vibe, aura and energy as well as their physical appearance; If you’ve ever seen someone that you can’t look away from, not because you want to sleep with them, but because you are drawn to them and see them as the only face in a crowd, then you know what I’m talking about. It’s a strange feeling, and if you’ve been fortunate enough to share eye contact, then you know how real it can feel.
Lust at first sight only encompasses physical appearance. Although it is still a strong feeling, it’s not as deep, and your mind turns to sex before thinking about what they’re like as a person. Don’t get me wrong, lust at first sight can turn in to love, but only after getting to know the person on a deeper level and appreciating their individual differences, if it gets to that. If you’ve shared eye contact in this situation, you’ll know it’s a different feeling to love at first sight.
Even though many people say it’s shallow to judge someone on physical appearance when looking for a partner, initial physical attraction is important for any relationship. They don’t have to be ‘the perfect 10’, but they have to be attractive to you, otherwise a sustained sexual relationship is almost impossible. In saying that, a persons personality can both take away from, and increase a persons physical attractiveness.
A Deeper Attraction
Have you ever met someone, started a conversation and by the end of the conversation you were finishing each others sentences? That’s how you know you’re on the same wavelength.
The deepest attractions occur when two people are on the same wavelength, can be themselves around each other and fully appreciate each others individual differences. This is what builds the foundation for a strong, passionate relationship, and these feelings for each other can be expressed sexually and otherwise.
It is a huge struggle trying to build attraction with someone that isn’t on your wavelength. For example, many people don’t get my jokes as I have a towel dry sense of humor. Those that do get my jokes share my sense of humor and make similar jokes, and the conversations are more natural, deep, fun and interesting.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to have a relationship with someone that doesn’t get my humor, but it is harder to build attraction when the conversation isn’t coming as naturally as you’d expect.
The Golden Rule
When many people ask for advice on how to attract a partner, the main advice they get is “just be yourself”. This is fantastic advice, but many people don’t fully understand what it is about them that makes them unique and attractive, and they change slightly to be ‘cooler’ or because they think that the person they’re trying to attract is looking for certain traits. It’s all done with good intentions, but it isn’t sincere and stems from low self-confidence and having not self-actualized yet.
If you’re a decent person with good morals, it’s a fact that you are at your most attractive when you are being yourself, because you are confident with who you are and are able to portray who you are to the world around you.
On the other hand, if the façade you put on fooled the person you attracted, it may work in the short term, but the true colors of a person will always come out eventually and destroy any relationships your façade has created. Starting a relationship with a façade will almost never lead to a sustained, stable relationship.
So to be emotionally able to fall in love, you must first be comfortable with yourself. You don’t have to be vain or cocky, you just have to know who you are, what your individual differences are, why they make you the unique and you have to embrace them.
If you fall in love with someone because they make you feel special, and not because of their unique qualities then you are setting your relationship up to fail.
It isn’t a mutual feeling, rather one person loves the other person for making them feel safe and secure, instead of loving them for who they are. This is the true reason as to why you must love yourself, before you can love someone else.
Once you love yourself in a modest way, your self-confidence skyrockets and you can be yourself in every situation. You don’t hold back on saying things because you are confident in your opinion and position in the conversation, and you don’t let people walk all over you. You know who you are and aren’t afraid of people seeing you in a bad light if they choose to as you know you can’t please everyone. As your confidence level increases, your worries and insecurities decrease, and as everyone knows, confidence is attractive. More traits of confident people are covered in this article by Philip Pape.
Now That You’re Emotionally Ready
So now that you are comfortable with yourself, and know who you are, you can start conveying this to other people. When you approach someone with confidence and convey your ideal self to them, will they be attracted to you? Most of the time you might not even have a 3 sentence conversation. That’s the funny thing about people. They may be in a different position emotionally to you, it could be a timing thing, they may be in a relationship, they could be an asshole or they just aren’t interested.
This is where your confidence is truly tested. Rejection can hurt, especially if you aren’t used to it and are trying to build confidence. It may feel like it knocks you back to the start of our journey, but eventually you become indifferent to it. I’ll go as far to say that you can learn to have fun with it. Here is a prime example of a truly confident person handling rejection. I know it’s a movie, but he has fun with it rather than let it get to him. He is confident in himself and doesn’t let the rejection doesn’t phase him. You also don’t need to look like Ryan Gosling to have that confidence.
Looking For A Partner
You’ve been yourself for what seems like a long time now, and you still haven’t met anyone. That’s the funny thing about love. Months or years may pass before you meet someone that you click with on all the necessary levels. Now what do you do? You continue to be yourself. Any relationship worth being in will be with those who are attracted to you because of who you are. Remember, you don’t need to change like you thought you did in the past. It is better to be alone than in a relationship and not yourself.
The things that makes you fall in love with someone are their individual differences. On a physical level it could be anything from their smile, facial expressions, freckles, body language or style. On a deeper level, the people you are most attracted to are the ones that also know who they are and what they have to offer to the world. Everyone is unique and offers different things. Being able to see what makes people unique and acknowledging, respecting and appreciating them for their differences is key for finding a life partner and having a successful relationship.
Found a Partner, Now What?
One of the hardest things for people is to accept that someone sees something special in you. It’s very easy for people to give compliments, but many people find it difficult to receive them. Being loved is the greatest compliment at all, and it can be a lot to take in, especially when you respect and love the person who loves you.
If you are confident and self-actualized before entering the relationship, you won’t have a problem taking compliments and won’t question if your partner is just saying something nice, rather you will be honored that someone you share these feelings for about appreciates you for being you.