Follow Your Heart, but Make Sure It’s in the Right Place
Why love is often not what we think it is
People often say that love is not enough. You can’t survive with love alone. To love someone without reserving something for yourself is a crazy idea.
On the other hand, you’d hear certain people who would advise you just to follow your heart. Love will solve everything. When you find love, you will always be happy.
To whom should we listen to? Do we even have an idea of what love truly is?
I feel sad whenever people talk about love as though it were something else. Love is not a genie that can grant all of our wishes. Love is not something that will instantly solve all of our problems. But love is also not a trivial thing we can so easily discard. It is not outdated. It is not weak. If we knew what love is truly like, we’d have more respect for the word. We wouldn’t use it as casually and as interchangeably as we use the words “like” and “very much fond of”.
In this article, let me discuss with you some of my reflections about love. I hope that it would help you see love in a whole new light. The kind of perspective that would help you as you strive to make your most important relationships work out.
What is love?
1. Love is true
To love is to also discover some kind of truth. It is to have that moment when you realize something with an undeniable conviction for the very first time. “This is it! This is what I’ve been looking for.”
We may not always analyze it that way, but deep within us, we find truth in love.
This is the reason why love cannot thrive in lies.
The one who constantly lies to himself and to others cannot find love. He or she may find some semblance of it. But such a person cannot find true love.
“The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love…”
― Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
2. Love is wise
Contrary to common belief, love is not blind. In truth, love sees more. And if love sees more, how could it not be wise?
Love alone is able to see the beloved in such a way that he or she has never been seen before. Love sees the beloved’s flaws and strengths.
Love knows the beloved’s pain even without being told about it. Love trusts the beloved’s heart even when all that it hears is silence.
Love is wise. It is able to see clearly between right and wrong. It sees because its vision is not blocked by self-interest. It desires the beloved’s good. It anticipates what could hurt the one it cares about and so it goes about doing what it could to protect the beloved one.
To say that love is foolish is to not appreciate love’s wisdom. It is to mock what is pure and to confuse it with something else.
3. Love is not selfish
The wisdom of love comes from not being centered upon one’s needs alone. It is to seek the other person’s good.
They who care only about what they feel forget that love is not about pleasing oneself only. We do not love if we hurt other people along the way. We do not love if we do not care about how other people would feel.
Love is not selfish. And because it is not selfish, it can be generous, patient and kind. All these things prove that one is not self-seeking. All these things focus on the other person who is loved.
“Love to be real, it must cost — it must hurt — it must empty us of self.”
— Mother Teresa
4. Love is faithful
Love is sincere. Love is not afraid to commit itself. The one who loves devotes oneself to one’s beloved. He or she does not waver with the slightest temptation or inconvenience.
When one loves, one loves with a faithful heart.
5. Love endures
Love does not retreat when things get difficult. Love knows how to endure. It knows how to make the sacrifice necessary for the sake of the one who is loved.
What kind of love runs away when dark times come? What kind of love becomes easily threatened with thoughts of suffering if suffering is what’s needed to make the relationship work?
Love is not mere pleasure. It is not a thing meant only to amuse or entertain us.
Love can make us laugh, but we do not desert love when it makes us cry.
Our misconceptions about love take us away from the most meaningful thing we could ever have in our lives. They make us believe in the easy path and then make us complain later on why we feel so empty inside.
Love is not the mere presence of pleasant emotions. Love is beyond happiness and sorrow. It is beyond pleasure and pain.
We can never understand love unless we have seen it with the eyes of the soul — eyes that see truth, wisdom, faithfulness, selflessness and goodness.
To love is to see a glimpse of something so beautiful we’d want to protect it even if it means undergoing the most difficult times. To love is to live fully; it is to taste eternity and to desire the highest possible good.
“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Mend My Broken Heart
“No matter how much we want to, there is no magic formula in healing a broken heart. There is no time-frame also. What we need is to know that our suffering is not meaningless, that the love we have given was never wasted, and that somewhere beyond all our pain, there is hope, hope that could help us endure the hurt we’re going through.”