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By Briana Bell 

What is love? Or, better, what does it feel like?

This question is one of the hardest for our society to even approach. We find the things we love in someone or something, the things that are favorable or deemed to be virtuous qualities, to justify our emotional experience. But it’s not the love itself.

Usually we love someone because they seem more put together than we are. We admire and worship the qualities that we don’t think we have. When we put them on a pedestal and jump at their every beckon and move. Is this love?

We love someone because they make us feel good when we don’t. We love them because they are big and strong or slender and fragile and have all of the “right” qualities in a person. He is there to swoon me when I am in trouble and she is there to fix me when I am hurt. Is this love?

Is it love when we fall in love with qualities and not the actual person we think we are in love with? Are we more in love with their physical features, physique, and taste in clothes more than the actual person? Are we more in love with their ability to hit every check box in our “ideal” significant other?

And the biggest question is, are we more in love with the “idea” of love than the actual person that we think we are in love with? Are we more in love with the wedding planning, the planned trips, the honeymoon and even the children, more than the person we’re doing it with?

We wonder why things don’t work out most of the time. We figure that marriage or relationships are really hard and it is hard to come by someone that is truly right for you because at some level, everyone is messed up. If we are all looking for the wrong things in someone else to be “loved” it will be very difficult to find it. A simple yet effective paradox.

We wonder why we are single in a world of people that are in love or are a couple, living happily ever after. But do not fret, blink those big beautiful eyes of yours and you will see beyond the mask of illusion. You will see the couples eyes filled with what seems like innate love for one another, but is really love for their qualities, their physique, their family, their money or their love for desperately wanting to be in “love.”

We get so caught in the trap that we have to marry the right one. We have to marry the guy or girl our parents would love. We have to be with someone who can fix us, who can make us complete. We have to be with someone who looks good all the time or make us look good all the time. We have to love someone who makes us forget about our darkest qualities. We have to love someone who makes us forget about ourselves. We have to love to forget who we are in order to be in love.

This paradox is what fills all the ideas and nuances of “love.” We have to marry the perfect guy/ girl. We have to have kids. We have to get a job and we will live happily ever after. This will not work for everyone. We aren’t giving ourselves enough credit. We are meant for more than living a life trying to find the wrong love and settle in the hallow dusty remnants of it. We are meant to live a life of unlimited and infinite love and passion for both what we love to do and for the person who will always be by our sides unconditionally.

The paradox of “love” is quite simple to unveil and resolve. Yet, so many of us are doing the same thing over and over again. Looking for the same things and the same people over and over again. Forgetting what is feels like to “love” because our minds are so clouded by things that are ‘supposed’ to be.

Love is within you. Love is determined by you. Someone else doesn’t have to tell you what love is to feel it. Someone doesn’t have to define love for you to understand it. Someone else doesn’t have to show you how love is supposed to be. It is all subjective and to how you receive it. Love doesn’t have to be what everyone else thinks it is.

Love is within you. You are love.

We go blindly walking around in search for a thing everyone looks for, without a clue as to what it is.

The real thing that is worth searching for is the love within our selves—only then when we love ourselves completely, we will be able to love someone else unconditionally and live the blissful happily ever after.

We, of course, still have the capacity to love even when we do not have the most love for ourselves —and this is hard with a world of beauty and lies that tell us we are beautiful, but only if we be nothing like who we truly are.

If you can’t love unconditionally, is this love?

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