J J Hanna
Oh to be Loved
Love is something that everyone craves. No, not the kind of love that is celebrated on Valentine's Day, or the kind of love that is commercialized on modern t.v. Rather, the kind of love that shows up when you go to a friend's house and they got your favorite drink because they knew you were coming, or they hug you and hold your hand, not because you've had a hard day, but because they're just happy to see you. This kind of love is the kind of love that a dog expresses when they hear your voice and come running to greet you. This is the kind of love my cat shows me when I get home from school and immediately, without missing a beat, she is on my lap if I am on the couch. This love is unconditional. It's the love a mother has for their child, where they are more concerned for the child's wellbeing then they are for their own. This love doesn't care if you're fighting with each other. When something big happens in your life, no matter how your relationship is with that person, this love tells you to tell them. It causes the story to bubble out of you as soon as you see them because you know that they will not write it off as unimportant or disregard the story. This love encourages you to tell them again and again, and it allows them to hear it again for the hundredth time, just because they get to see you and hear you talk. This love is what makes your day better when you see someone. Your love for them and their love for you feed off of each other until no matter what mood you're in, you can see them and go, "Ahhhh," breathing a sigh of relief because there's no pretense. You can be you with them and not only do they accept you, but they laugh at your jokes. It's not work to be with them, and you don't ever want to leave, because where you are is so comfortable that returning to the outside world seems too daunting of a task. The love I've described is something very different than is usually put forth as a definition of love. The Oxford American Dictionary defines love as: "an intense feeling of deep affection." This is the sort of glue that holds relationships together. This is why children visit their parents, why friends spend time together, why humans work so hard to be accepted by their peers. Everyone longs to be loved. Everyone desires to be appreciated for who they are. There is a special beauty in being you with others, and not only being accepted but also being encouraged. The freedom is impossible to put into words. Find someone who loves you. Find many people who love you. Pets, friends, family. Take the challenge to look for the love in your life outside of your romantic interests, because while those are good and they should be modeled in this fashion as well, it is vital to know how to allow yourself to be loved without any reason other than that you want to be with your friends, or that you want to go home and see your cat, or pet your dog. Being loved is a vital part of being human. And while romance is a section of life, the parts of life that do not involve romance are nearly always more prevalent. Because of that, it's imperative to find people who love you with no personal gain. This is true love.