The Factors of Love

Love. It is a universal language and desire. No, I have not met every person on the face of the earth, so this may not be a scientific fact. It is merely my opinion, and a good one if I say so myself.

Think about it. Who does not want to feel important? Listened to? Cared for? Desired? Protected? If there is one person on this earth who does not want that, there is something serious wrong with them. One, they are either alien or robot among us. Or two, they were hurt so badly by love once (or never received it) that they fear it and push it away from their highly guarded walls. I get that. I mean deep down, I really get the wall building reasoning. When someone’s “love” destroys you to your core, you go into a defensive mood. You protect yourself with distance and walls. It makes sense, but…I don’t think it stops the need for love.

But you may ask, what is love really? I mean some people LOVE pizza. Others LOVE their country. While others would just assume sacrifice their life or dreams for someone else happiness because of LOVE.

To me, love means many things since there are many types and levels. I won’t get into the love of pretty ponies or those soft frosted sugar cookies that melt ever so wonderfully in your mouth. So sweet that you can hear them calling to you to have another… No, no body has time for that. And frankly, if I talk about it much longer, I will have to drive to the store to swoop my cookie love off the shelf and into my eager mouth.

The love I mean, is love for people. We love our parents, siblings, friends, and relatives. To me, this is a bonding love. Then, there is romantic love. Romantic love is different of course as there is the physical attraction added to the mix. But if you take out the physical part (which I don’t really recommend as that is a fun part, but for the sake of this article ending at one point – remove that factor for now) both types of love have similar qualities. Let me point out a few:

Respect: Love builds respect. Or maybe respect builds love. Either way, I think true love requires it. Of course respecting them doesn’t mean you agree with every decision of theirs. No, it was not your choice to paint the bathroom Pepto-Bismol pink or to hang the meanest, ugliest deer head in your living room, but you respect their wishes/wants and you compromise because it make makes them happy.

Tolerance: When you love someone, I mean truly love them, you can tolerate their bad habits. This doesn’t mean you enjoy their moody teenage comments or their messy habits in the house, but because of love, you don’t kill them. And, you may even refrain from commenting about these things until a better time when they will be more receptive. Or…maybe never.

Sacrifice: Loving someone means sacrificing your time and plans sometimes. Maybe they need help with a project but you had other plans, really good plans too. So instead of going out to watch the one time showing of your favorite game/show/etc, you decide to stay home and help them research the history of musical effects on hamsters’ eating habits or to give them a hand at painting the garage. Neither of these would have ever made your list of “to dos” but here you are doing them…because of love.

Trust: Love requires us to trust people. There is not much choice in the matter really. When you really love them to your core, you open up to them. You tell them your dreams, disappointments, and fears. They KNOW you. And you KNOW them. There is a trust that comes with that. You don’t just divulge your life’s issues to anyone (unless you are a blogger, writer, singer, poet, or bitter angry person trying to vent about your ex’s atrocities). No, normal people (this is a big assumption here as I may not be officially normal and can’t claim to actually know normal people) open up to people they trust, which is a factor of love.

Communication: When you love someone, you communicate with them. Whether that is daily, weekly or only a few times a year, it is real communication. You actually listen to them. You hear what they are saying. You can empathize with them. And you expect them to do the same. You talk when they need you, even if you are not in the mood. You let them cry on your shoulder when you had planned to do something else. You let them know what your thinking, instead of letting them wonder in silence.

Attendance: Love requires time. It takes time to really get to know someone, all their issues, all their habits and all their dreams. While you are getting to know them, you are either learning to love them or figuring out how you can discreetly run away. But if you decide to love them, you give them your time. And most times, you are happy to do so. The time you spend with them is memorable, comfortable or exciting. Or, maybe all of them at once. The point is, you choose to be with them.

Happiness: Ultimately, happiness is the key factor of love. When you have all the other factors, you tend to be happy when you are with this person. They make you smile, laugh, cry, and think. Regardless of whatever happens in life, this person brings joy to your heart and soul. And you go out of your way to do the same for them.

I am sure there are several other factors for love and maybe they are different for different people. But for me, true love would have all of those components. People are complex. Therefore, our relationships could not be any less. I suppose that is what makes LOVE so dang rewarding. That through our ups and downs, our annoying habits, our endless imperfections, there is someone still there for us. Someone who loves us for who we are, regardless of ourselves. Now, tell me again, who would not want that?

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~dp

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