What is Love?

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

“Real love is a permanently self-enlarging experience.” ~ M. Scott Peck

Lately I’ve been faced with the fact that I don’t understand all the aspects of love. About thirty years ago I read The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. A certain passage in the book confused me. He said that love is not a feeling. Wait. What? Then, as I recall he went on to write that love is commitment to accept people as they are, faults and all. It took me a long time to even partially understand what he meant. I don’t remember what started me thinking about this recently, probably some news story.

There are always people in our lives who are easy for us to love. But the true test of loving is caring for individuals we don’t understand, or even like. I want to love everyone unconditionally, but I find myself calling people names and then I remember, oh, yeah, they deserve my love too.

M. Scott Peck and other teachers have pointed out that we don’t have to like everyone we meet. But we do need to treat everyone with respect. We need to see past their behaviors. I’m not very good at that part of love. I call drivers who cut me off, or politicians, or people at work, idiots. I judge them for not acting or behaving the way I think they should. That’s not love.

The other day we got a message from my cousin in Vermont that his mom had died. She was my father’s sister and though I didn’t see her much throughout the years, when I did the encounters stuck with me. She was a quiet, contemplative person with a light that emanated from her being. She was kind and loving.

Twenty-three years ago, Barry and I took a side trip to Vermont to visit my aunt, uncle and cousin, as part of our trip around the world. People in town greeted my aunt and uncle with such warmth. That kind of response is only given to those who are highly esteemed. I want to be like that, leaving people feeling good.

Of course, I’ve encountered people who leave me feeling yucky. And though it is counterintuitive, those are the people who need love the most. My dad used to say that. I think that’s what M. Scott Peck was getting at. When I encounter those hard to love people, I feel an inner resistance. And it’s that resistance that I have begun to question. Why do I feel it, and how can I let it go so I can just love those hard to love individuals?

Maybe the resistance is a learned thing. We think we have to build walls around ourselves for protection. What would the world be like if we all tore down our walls and allowed ourselves to be vulnerable. Whoa. That’s a bit of a scary, yet intriguing thought.

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of internal shifting in my thinking and emotions. It’s a signal to me that perhaps I’m not the only one whose world view is being challenged. It’s exciting and unnerving at the same time. Lots of my long held beliefs are crumbling and falling away. The future is not as set as I thought it was. It’s time for some cosmic closet cleaning and personal recalibration.

I’m not sure where I’m going with these thoughts and emotions. I just wanted to note that I’m beginning to feel different about my fellow humans in recent weeks. It’s an exciting new state of being.

If you’re in the U.S. I hope you get to spend time with your loved ones this Labor Day weekend.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Love and blessings to you all.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

4 thoughts on “What is Love?

  1. I disagree when he says “love is a commitment”. Love isn’t a commitment, it’s an emotion. And like with any emotion, we choose how we deal with or respond to its presence. And in the case of love, that choice is to commit and accept- or not to.

    But I also think people confuse respect and acceptance with love all too often as well; I do think you need to respect and accept everyone and treat them with dignity (within reason, anyways)… But I don’t think you need to love everyone- or that love is a prerequisite for respect and acceptance. Those aren’t the same things.

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    1. lucindasagemidgorden

      Anna, admittedly it’s been a really long time since I read Peck’s book. If I read it now I may feel differently.

      Gregg Braden, another author I read, says that prayer comes from the heart not the head. That we must connect with one or more of these components, compassion, appreciation, caring, and gratitude in order for our prayers to be effective. And that we pray out of love for one another. So perhaps love is an emotion AND commitment. We choose to love every day, to send out prayers for our loved ones and for those in the world who need prayers of support whether we know them or not. We do this out of compassion, which to me is a form of love.

      I agree we don’t have to like everyone but I do believe that trying to see behind the masks people wear to who they really are is love. I wish we could discuss this face to face. So much is lost when we can’t see each other’s body language facial expressions, and hear tone of voice.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lucindasagemidgorden

        I respectfully disagree. There are people who hide behind their written words. But because of my theatre background, I know we can rarely hide our true emotions and thoughts. Non-verbal communication is about 65 percent or more of our messages. Yes, written communication forces scrupulous people to be clear. It allows the unscrupulous to hide their true thoughts and feelings. Words can also be used as weapons.

        When I’m writing my posts and novels even though I attempt to be clear, it’s nearly impossible to convey my inner states of being so that other people can understand completely. Maybe I just need more practice.

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