Singers, poets, writers, and philosophers have tried for thousands of years to define love. They have celebrated it, mourned it, praised it, and been laid low by it. One of the overarching human conditions present throughout our history is that we are consistently baffled and buoyed by the existence of love.
At different times in our lives, love means something different. When we are young, love is a fierce and desperate feeling. Our emotions and hormones rage, and we fall in and out of love as we struggle to gain perspective and experience in our lives.
As we grow older, love becomes more about actions. Love is companionship and nurturing; it is fining a partner and working to maintain a healthy relationship apart from just feelings and hormones. We learn what we need to do to have healthy relationships, and as we age we see in ourselves and in our partners what it means to love and be loved.
Our individual experiences with love help us create our own definitions of this word. When we are young, we see love demonstrated by our parents to each other and to us as their children. Unfortunately, this can also mean that you see when love isn’t in a relationship. These early experiences with good and not so good examples of love cause us to see love in different ways. As we get older, we can start to see in ourselves how our early memories of love have shaped our opinions and perspective on the relationships we have in the present day.
How we love ourselves can have a major impact on how other people treat us. We set the example and the tone for how we want to be loved; without knowing how to love ourselves, we can’t expect another person to magically know what we need. Others are attracted to us based on our vibrations and energy and how we demonstrate love to ourselves and others around us.
Our relationships often fall into patterns based on our perceptions of love. We make decisions, often subconsciously, based on our early experiences with love. This can lead us to making a habit of choosing the wrong people, of sabotaging our relationships, or of simply looking for love in all the wrong places.
If you are looking to change your definition of love to embrace the relationships you know you deserve, start by examining the relationships in your life that have influenced you from childhood onwards. What was strong about these relationships? What weakened them? What do you admire about the good relationships in your life? By writing these things down, you can begin to see how to change your own perspective and behavior when it comes to love.
As we start to understand our own attitudes toward love, we can begin to determine where we need to change. As our energy shifts, you might start to notice that you are attracting a different kind of person than you used to. Love can be challenging and hard, but it is also the greatest thing in the world.