What Is Love: An Examination of Different Viewpoints

Updated on February 14, 2018
Salma Hassaballa profile image

Salma Hassaballa has produced two documentaries and written books in multiple genres. She is a member of the Arab Writers Union.

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Who of us hasn’t fallen in love? I bet nobody. I believe that love is like birth and death. It happens inevitably, without our choice or intention; it may last or decay, but it has to knock our hearts at some point or another in our lives.

What surprises me the most is that there is no consensus about many issues concerning the feeling of love. And this makes me wonder: does everybody feel the same way when he or she says to his or her partner “I love you?” Or does the feeling of love vary according to the lovers’ conditions, including but not limited to the characteristics that were passed to them genetically from their parents, the surrounding environment, their experiences, and memories? In other words, is love an absolute or a relative feeling? In an attempt to answer the question, I am going to delve through some various issues concerning love.

1. Sharing Is Caring

Do you agree, that sharing is caring? Many people would agree that the statement is true, but let us postpone our assessment until I tell you about my aunt’s story. She’s over 80 years old and lives in Alexandria, Egypt, with a poor health condition. She has two sons who live in the United States, she sends them every day an email, and writes about everything except her suffering for being, weak, old and lonely. One day I told her: “why don’t you tell them about your condition? They have to know what you are going through; sharing is caring.” She answered with a warm smile: “my child if you truly love someone, you will hate to burden him with your own worries, troubles and hard times.”

2. Love Gets the Best Out of Us

Some people argue that love is a point of strength, while others assert that it is a point of weakness. Some feel supported, dignified and valued, and they consider their love as a turning point to the better. While others see that love causes them to regress. Some even see love as a disease that they have to be cured of! These lovers are usually deserted, and couldn’t overcome their love for years. Some of them still keep their relationship; however, they turn to be subordinate to the ones they love. Their characters diminish in their lovers’ realms, and many of them live in their lovers' shadows; they feel like captives, who can never break their chains, in their lovers' worlds.

3. Jealousy Is a Sign of Love

There is an Egyptian proverb that says “Jealousy is the salt of love.” which means that it gives love a good taste, if it is introduced with proper amount, without excess. Thus “A little jealousy proves she loves me” is a statement that is true for some. Others may find that there are other reasons for jealousy. One reason is that you feel insecure with your partner; you feel that your relationship may come to an end at any moment. Thus, you have a very low self-esteem, and you feel that you are not up to the relation. On the other hand, it may be due to having high ego and excess self-esteem and you have a sense of possessiveness towards your partner. In this regards, if jealousy is unjustified, for example, your partner did not betray your trust before, then find the cause of jealousy inside you. In all cases, we are humans, we may experience negative feelings, that cannot be controlled or avoided; however, it is not very hard to control our actions.

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4. Hugs and Kisses Are Inevitable to Show Love

Some people believe that love is magnificently expressed by a kiss; while others entirely avoid these expressions in their worldly life, under the assumption of purifying and strengthening their soul. Some find that the need of the touch of their lovers’ hands or having warm hugs is not necessarily a body’s call, but rather a call from the soul. It is not a matter of enjoying moments of ecstasy and physical pleasure; it is something higher. It gives a feeling that includes warmth, serenity, assurance, and completeness. A feeling that is ineffable and hard to explain as it comes from a realm that doesn’t belong to this physical world.

5. One Can Fall in Love With More than One Person at the Same Time

Some people believe that loyalty and sincerity are inseparable from true love. Some even think that they have to be loyal to their deceased partners, and they refrain from being involved in new relationships through the rest of their lives. On the other hand, we find others truly love their partners, but they get involved into other relationships. I remember a very popular song in the 70s that beautifully touched this issue called Torn between two lovers and sung by Mary MacGregor.

6. The First Love Is the Strongest

Some people believe that first love is unforgettable. They insist to retrieve their old memories by listening to certain songs, passing by a certain place, looking at old photos, or staying in contact with certain people. even if they start new relationships. For they never get over their first love. The empty pillow novel beautifully raised this issue. it was written by the deceased famous Egyptian writer Ehsan Abdel Kodous and was introduced in a 50s popular movie that got the same name. During that time, the movies were rather romantic, and the scenarios were mainly about reviving the old love affairs. However, this novel raised a revolutionary conclusion. Its catchphrase is “There is a delusion in everyone's life that is called First Love. Don’t believe this delusion, as your first love is your last.”

7. Love Can Be Arranged

A suitor may pursue a relationship with a particular woman, with a view to marriage. But can love be arranged? In the Middle East, it is very common to have arranged marriages, and it is very successful. In fact, it is more successful than love marriages. Maybe, this is due to the fact that when you are in love, you usually don’t see the naked truth of your partner, until you get married. In many situations, couples with different backgrounds, fall in love but they fail to continue because they differ in their attitudes and principles. However, arranged marriage mainly protect partners to fall in these conflicts. In an arranged happy life, love may evolve, but still, there is no guarantee!

8. One-Sided Love Is the Purest Form of Love

Can you fall in love with someone, without expecting any emotional returns? Can you continue to love without hopes or promises? Can you endure the feeling of seeing the one you love with someone else? In fact, there are some who claim that they do; they even see that their happiness is realized by seeing the one they love happy with someone else! This kind of love is represented in novels like A Tale of Two Cities written by Charles Dickens. On the other hand, for many, love cannot flourish from one side; for it is like a plant that needs to be nurtured in order to grow. That is why we have an Egyptian proverb that says "out of sight, out of mind."

9. Love Is an Unconditional Forgiveness

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." is a catchphrase based on a line from the Erich Segal novel Love Story and was popularized by its 1970 film adaptation starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal, This view is highlighted in other romantic novels and movies as well. Some people find that when you are in love, you usually excuse your lover. they believe that lovers not only forgive but forget their partners’ slips and mistakes. However, some others believe that the negative words or actions of your lover may cut deeper than the sword, sometimes it leaves scars!

10. Love Is an Irrational Feeling

There are no whys and hows in love, it just comes and conquers your heart and that’s it! You may suffer insomnia, have daydreams, One day you feel joyful, cheerful, and you are on cloud nine, then the other day you feel sad, sorrow and empty. One day you have high hopes and the other day you are disappointed and in despair. No rules, no guidance, this is the beauty of love! Others find the opposite. They find that love without reason is like a car without brakes, doomed to crash!

Conclusion

People may prefer spicy, bitter or sweet food. They may prefer raw, medium or well-done meat. But that doesn’t oppose the fact that we all have to eat in order to live. This is also valid when it comes to our feeling of love. Human beings everywhere can’t live without it.If you listen to the love songs in different parts of the world, you will realize that the lyrics are the same when describing yearning, longing, missing the one they love, feeling jealous or deserted, feeling happy, infatuated or fascinated. ‘For love is absolute, and a common feeling, however, we are subjective creatures, so our attitudes differ accordingly.

A Love Song Produced by Me

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    • Salma Hassaballa profile imageAUTHOR

      Salma Hassaballa 

      6 months ago from Egypt

      Yes dashingscorpio, your comment reminded me of a very successful Egyptian TV series called (the second encounter). the protagonist accidentally meets her ex-lover after so many years of separation, and she discovers that she has completely changed, and he will never ever convince her at that age, she even asked herself: how did she fall in love with such guy before? It is very interesting to see how our views change through the years! as you said, responsibilities in life and experiences we pass through let us evaluate things differently.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      6 months ago

      Salma, You made some excellent points.

      I also believe they miss being "innocent" and "naïve" about the ways of the world. The "first love" usually occurs while we have our parents to take care of major requirements (housing, food, clothing, utilities, and spending money...)

      Our primary focus is on school and (imagining) our fantasy future with our girlfriend/boyfriend.

      Life is a lot different when you have a job with a demanding boss, rent, utilities, and car note to pay in addition to other things that require a certain amount of our mindshare.

      Our "first love" takes place while we have a "stress free" life.

      We also do not have any "emotional baggage" or scars from a previous failed relationship. We're "all in" because we've never experienced heartache before. Once you've been hurt you learn to approach relationships with (more caution and awareness).

      "Knowledge is being aware that fire can burn. Wisdom is remembering the blister." -Leo Tolstoy

    • Salma Hassaballa profile imageAUTHOR

      Salma Hassaballa 

      6 months ago from Egypt

      Hello dashingscorpio, I totally agree with you, unfortunately, people may waste their lives suffering because of missing their first love! And most of the young hearts don't realize that they are not falling in love with their boyfriends/ girlfriends, but rather they are falling in love with the idea of living a love story! and that is why when they get mature they break up, but still, they remember the good memories of the past and forget the bad ones. That's human nature and that is why I guess they miss their old love stories.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      6 months ago

      “There is a delusion in everyone's life that is called “First Love”.

      - Very true!

      Sadly too many people spend the rest of their lives comparing their youthful immature naïve wide-eyed teenage unrealistic beliefs with the wisdom and life experience they have gained through heartache, betrayal, cheating, and disappointment.

      Only after one has the "full picture" are they in a position to know if they are really in love with someone.

      Most of us begin to pursue relationships before we figured out who (we) are let alone knew what we wanted and needed in a mate for life. We allowed "impulsive connections" and "happenstance" to dictate our relationship choices.

      It's the equivalent of going shopping without a list!

      Never separate your mind from your heart when making relationship decisions. The purpose of the mind is to protect the heart. Know yourself, Love yourself, Trust yourself.

      When it comes to love and relationships most of us (fail our way) to success. Rarely does one hit a homerun their first, second, third, or fourth time up at bat. If this were not true we would all be married to our high school sweethearts!

    • Salma Hassaballa profile imageAUTHOR

      Salma Hassaballa 

      6 months ago from Egypt

      Thank you Mona for your input.

    • profile image

      Mona 

      6 months ago

      Agree on most of the points, wish society would allow love to be free and not bind us all in definitions and chains. Love is like seasons and nature, always evolving.

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