How Do You Know If It's Love?

I’ve been asked a few times in my life how I know what love is. This is a question that can be so hard to explain with words…feelings are often difficult to describe. With this blog post, I’m going to give it my best shot.

I tried to look at the different definitions of love both online and in the dictionary. They are woefully inadequate which just supports my statement that feelings are difficult to describe. If a dictionary can’t fully explain it, how can I, you ask? I’m not sure, but what I can do is share what love means to me.

One thing I do know is that the word “love” is overused and misapplied often. I mean seriously, do you really love eating ribs and love your spouse the same way? Well, maybe some of you do… Anyway, we use the word love so loosely and often that it erodes the meaning (of which we haven’t quite figured out yet). Many people finish conversations with friends with “love you.” Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Maybe that’s how they finish all their conversations so it’s just a habit.

TELEMARKETER: You’ll love these knives! You’ll wonder how you ever lived so long without them!

PERSON: Oh! I’m the kind of person who loves everything! Send me two sets, please! I just can’t wait to cut cans in half with them! I’m going to love this!

TELEMARKETER: Great! Just for being a good customer, the kind we love, we’ll throw in an extended auto warranty for just an additional $100 a month for the rest of your life!

PERSON: I love that!

TELEMARKETER: Good! You’ll receive your knives and warranty in the mail within the next two years, if you’re lucky!

PERSON: I’ll watch my mailbox!

TELEMARKETER: It was a pleasure screwing you out of your money, Mr. Person! Have a good day!

PERSON: You too! Love you!

This is a good example of overusing the word love to the point where it has little substantial meaning. Maybe I exaggerated a little bit, but I’m pretty sure most of you are just now thinking of other examples where the word “love” is overused.

So, what is love?

For me, love is the excitement I feel every time my wife walks into the room. Even after all this time, my heart flutters a little and my breath catches when I see her. Even when I’m angry about something, all I have to do is be silent for a moment and just look at her and there goes my heart fluttering and breath-catching again.

Love is when you watch your child sleeping. Love is when you watch your child graduate. Love is when you get to hold your grandchild. Love is when you care for your sick child. Love is when your parent tells you how proud they are of you. These are examples that can go on forever.

I may not be a “love” expert, but I am a “love” consumer so that gives me a right to define what I think “love” is. Here is my definition…

Love is an unconditional feeling of overwhelming proportions that cannot be described properly with words. It’s not just a mental feeling, but a physical feeling as well. Love is automatic and cannot be personally controlled. You can place conditions on “like” but you can never place conditions on “love.” You either love or you don’t. It’s that simple. It really isn’t up to you.


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