What is love?

Love – it is undoubtedly the most widely discussed topics any where in the world. Love knows no language, is not limited by any boundaries and when you are in love, you cannot deny the fact that it is the most beautiful thing that could ever happen to you.

Love is more giving than receiving; more listening than speaking; more ‘we’, ‘ours’ and ‘us’ than ‘me’, ‘mine’ and ‘I’. Though it is discussed and thought of so much about, nobody has ever come to coherent conclusion about ‘what’ love really is. That’s probably because, love comes in various forms. Love that parents have towards her children, or that siblings have for each other, or even the love which you have for that special person in life.

Following is my understanding of what love is. It is more generalization of true love and I won’t be delving into the forms of love because I believe that all forms of love have a lot in common – which I try to explain here.

So what is love? According to me Love depends on five parameters: Acceptance, Surrender, Freedom, Understanding and Time. Sounds weird? Read on…

Love is acceptance

When you are in love, you accept the person completely knowing very well that the person isn’t perfect (believe me no one is). Also, more importantly, you accept the person for what he/she is and not what he/she can become. Acceptance is unconditional. In true love, you don’t hear: “I love you but I hate your singing” or “I love you but I can’t stand your parents”. Because, when you truly accept someone, you will also love what that person loves. You learn to accept their mistakes, forgive and also forget. Forgetting is very important, because if you cannot forget, it will never be able to forgive.

Acceptance also defines responsibility. You feel responsible for the welfare of that person. You take measures to ensure that the person is healthy, happy and safe. Another very important aspect to be mentioned here is the fact that you do not see the necessity to change yourself consciously. You will automatically change when you realize that some of your actions are disheartening the other person. And most likely these changes are mutual and happen at a subtler level, and almost always go unnoticed.

Love is surrender

Why do you think they call it ‘falling’ into love? That is because you surrender yourself completely to the will of that person. Anything they do/say/think will seem the best. Surrender does not mean you are becoming a slave. Surrender really means that you are placing the person above your ego. You are becoming less selfish and less self-centered towards that person.

It also means that you are ready to compromise and adapt to situations when necessary, which by the way, is very important to any relationship.

Love is freedom

Love is free, like a bird. You cannot expect a caged bird to love you. Set the bird free, if you really love it, the bird will surely come back to you. In love, freedom means that you do not feel you are superior and try to dominate over the person. Instead, you set them free; and make sure that they are safe whatever they are doing or wherever they are going. Trying to be over possessive is really not the way. By granting freedom, you do not hear yourself say, “I don’t like you doing this”. Also, you do not resort to emotional blackmail, “It will hurt me if you do this”.

Love is understanding

Belief, trust, loyalty and understanding are the pillars of any relationship. And understanding is the most important of them all. When you are in love, you’ll know that whatever the other person does, always has something good in it for you. Small issues, which are inevitable, are handled without a word of disagreement. And consensus conclusions are arrived at, while making important decisions. Mistakes are forgiven (and forgotten) without a word of dissent or blame.

Also, in love there is unconditional support. You believe the person completely and back him/her till the end even if the idea seems far fetched. Constant motivation and encouragement is always present, this not only boosts the self-confidence, makes them happy and stress-free, but also gives them the security of being in safe hands and allows them to move forward without fear.

Love is time

Time is a commodity that is becoming very scarce nowadays. Days are flying by, years are rolling on without a notice. For the present generation, which is taken in by the technological advancements and the sophisticated working environment, it has become very hard to even make a few hours each day for our loved ones. Love is something that thrives on time. You always try hard to make time for each other, in spite of busy work schedules. You will be longing to see the other’s face at the end of the day, like a mother who waits at the doorstep for her children to return home from school.

In the end, love is what makes life beautiful and worth living for. 🙂

The Greatest Insult

‘Insult’ isn’t a very hard word to define. In fact, its easy to describe it when you insult; and easier when you get insulted. Formally, insult can be defined as: a rude expression intended to offend or hurt. This rude remark may not be deliberate, but 90% of the times, it is.

For me, insult means something different. Something that is inside you; rather than the effect of a remark made by someone. I define insult as an attack on the ego. And as a direct consequence of this attack, there is anger, humiliation, embarrassment, and restlessness that gets developed. These feelings, many times end up putting a person on a tensioned spring, awaiting to pounce on an opportunity to get back even with the insulter. In short: revenge mode. Apart from the direct effects, insults, especially to kids, mean discouragement, deprivation of hope, a lapse of confidence, and also a big reason for disheartening and dispiriting them.

Instead of delving into the philosophy of an insult or ego, I would present an incident that happened in my school days, but before that, this was how I was at school:

I was a person who gave more importance to knowledge rather than the marks that my report card reflected. The marks or grades that I obtained at school did not affect me at all – be it high or low. When many of my friends (especially girls) wept because they lost 2 marks, I used to laugh at them; I would have lost 10 marks! I used to get irritated and amused at the same time when sometimes my friends (specially girls, again) wept inconsolably for obtaining 98 out of 100! I would be over the clouds with marks like that!

Anyways, coming to the incident that I was going to narrate to you: this happened on the eve of my 10th Standard results. We got our results over the internet on the previous day. I had obtained 90.08%, which is pretty good; though I knew I could have done better. But like I was, it did not matter to me. Next day, I went to the school, all happy and smiling. The first teacher I met was my favorite teacher. She was my English teacher in 9th Standard; the one who had praised me before. I happily told her my result percentage and waited for her to say something. I expected a word of appreciation, or even criticizing me not to have performed even better. But as fate would have it, the greatest insult actually came from my favorite teacher! She said: “You surprised us all, Manoj”. I was dazzled for a moment and blinked at her. The sarcasm in her voice hit me so hard that I still remember the incident. I still don’t understand why she expected me to get lesser marks. I was so involved into what she said, that I don’t remember what I replied to that.

Sometimes, when I look back into all the incidents that had happened in my life, I wonder if I had lived life assuming that everyone around me *liked* me and was comfortable with me. And sometimes, I wonder if I’m still living life that way…