What is LOVE?

the-abduction-of-psyche-1895Isn’t it interesting that LOVE has its official holiday but no official definition? Throughout centuries people have been trying to explain what it is, but they have never managed to find one single description.

Oxford dictionary suggests that LOVE is “an intense feeling of deep affection”. But wouldn’t it also fit the terms “passion”or “devotion” ?  Or are they just different expressions of love?

Louis de Bernières believes that there is a difference between true love and being in love. He says that

“Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident”.

Dostoevskiy agrees that being in love and to love is different, saying that

“Being in love does not mean to love. You can fall in love while hating.”

One of my favorite quotes is by Frédéric Beigbeder:

“Last night I got a card from Claire: “Dear Oscar, I don’t love you. I don’t love you. I don’t love you. I don’t love you.” That was the most beautiful love letter I have ever received.” 

Gregory David Roberts in his book “Shantaram” writes:

“It’s bad, loving someone you can’t forgive.’ ‘It’s not as bad as loving someone you can’t have”.  

But what about unconditional love? Shouldn’t true love be unconditional? During the discussion with one of my interviewees, she said that for her genuine love is

“loving someone unconditionally no matter what their good or bad qualities are, no matter what their faults are.”

Vadim Zeland in his book “Transurfing reality” says that

“unconditional love is love without the right to have and hold; it is admiration without worship.”

Maybe if we could love unconditionally then love would be truly liberating and it would be easy to agree with Sophocles who said that

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.”

While for Sophocles pain of life can be freed by LOVE, for others LOVE is the pain. Thus, Stendal compares it to a fever

“Love is like a fever which comes and goes quite independently of the will.”

and Paulo Coelho says that

“Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.”

As we can see the philosophers, artists and writers could not agree on one single understanding of what love is. Maybe Leo Tolstoy was right saying

“I think… if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.”

I wish to everyone to find their own happy definition of genuine love!

Happy St. Valentines Day!


About the author:


Oxana believes that every person’s life can make an intriguing story for a book which can teach a lot of wisdom. Life in Russia, England, France, Hungary, USA and lots of travelling around the continents introduced her to exceptional personalities. She loves to share stories about people and destinations which bring new ideas and help to find a way to your true self. This is why she started her blog “In search of the genuine”

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