What Is Love?



I have written about many emotions but the basic emotion, which we are born with, which we crave for in all its forms has escaped my attention or I have consciously avoided it.

Probably I know very less about it.

I have written a few lines about ‘Eternal Love ‘and ‘Unknown Love’ but it is easier to write poetry and leave much to the imagination and interpretation of the reader. Many times imagery conveys all we want to say.

When my dearest friend Zeenat Merchant Syal @ Positiveprovocations invited me to contribute my thoughts to a mega post on love, I realized I have never written about love – the most coveted emotion!

I had to go back in time to answer a host of questions that swarmed up around me.

Why has love been such a petrifying emotion for me?

I can relate so much to one of the protagonists of my stories…the little girl who yearned only in her dreams, alone.

She could never share her emotions and aspirations and hurts.

She only watched and absorbed. Is that I?

Love for her was just a passing thought, a mirage that could only be seen in the movies. It was not real. It was never around her. She could never touch or feel it.

A hug or an endearing word was not meant for her.

The society in which she lived didn’t give any importance to expressing it openly. Falling in love was equivalent to falling in a well. Romantic love was offensive. Sex was a repugnant word!

Love was caring for others but only those who were valuable to the society.

Love was sacrifice…giving all your time and effort for the welfare of others.

Love was thinking what she was expected to think.

Love was listening and complying with all the diktats of the family and the society.

Self-love was taboo. It was being selfish.

Till she realized love is much more than all this, which had been drilled into her mind. Till she decided to break free and get access to free thoughts.

Till she realized love is an invisible force that can transcend all the barriers.

Till she found true love… Till she came across what Leo Buscaglia says: “Love is life…and if you miss love, you miss life.”

True love quote
Image credit

When you are restricted to think and express yourself freely, you get accustomed to a certain behavior, which is hard to alter. So the exquisite emotion of love got lost in those oppressive man-made alleys of sanctimoniousness.

I am glad my favorite protagonist has helped me understand why I couldn’t fathom such a beautiful word.

Love is a natural instinct that grows if it is nurtured. It evolves itself but withers if it is not watered with affection, care, respect and kindness. Romantic love morphs into a loving and eternal relationship if we understand what is love; why passion is such a sweet word.

Love is a much wider term… encompassing friendship, family and bonding.

Recently a very old friend and neighbor called me, excited beyond words to explain how he found my number, why he still values my friendship and yearns to meet me to renew those memories! He didn’t even know my name, all he could remember was my nickname. I know that is certainly ‘love!’

“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.” –Oscar Wilde

Have you explored the positive power of love? Did it enrich your life? I am eagerly waiting for your answers.

Thank you for reading this. Your support is immensely appreciated.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

34 thoughts on “What Is Love?

  1. Perhaps love is a little like the concept of god Balroop – we can interpret it and have it expressed through us in so many ways, dependent upon our conditioning, genetics, and innate character?

    1. Yes Hariod, you are absolutely right! Interpretations and expressions vary. Love remains the same…a four lettered word, each letter special if the passion is there.
      Thank you so much for sharing your prudence and saying so much in a succinct manner.

  2. This is beautiful, Balroop. Love is so complex, isn’t it? For me, the hurdle was accepting that love is subject to all the foibles of the human heart because we are, above all, human. The perfect romance is an illusion in the long run simply because life doesn’t work that way, it never has. So love becomes a poignant teacher, and we learn to love despite the faults and struggles we and our loved ones face.When I think of lasting love, I realize I’m cognizant of the striving, the moments of clarity and kindness, the dream, the growth, and the failures that give relationships texture and richness. I gather it all up and love.
    Thanks so much for the lovely post, and have a wonderful week. ❤

    1. Hi Diana,

      Thank you for such an in-depth analysis of this over-rated term. We attach so many emotions and expectations to it that its real visage gets sidelined. It’s illusionary aspect carries us far into the world of unknown…obviously we wander and drift away!
      To my mind, love is that, which gleams through our struggles, growth and failure. It ennobles us and steers us towards lasting relationships. 🙂
      You too have a blessed week dear friend.

  3. Hi Balroop, I loved the way the meaning of love has changed for you with time.

    How we perceive love (a thing to be suppressed of or as an emotionally enriching experience) is shaped by the society and the surroundings that we live in, which also influences whether we are restrictive, or expressive when we speak about love.

    Happy that your favorite protagonist helped you to understand and express so beautifully the nuances of love.

    1. Hi Somali,

      Love keeps evolving just like our thoughts. For a child, it is just cuddles and hugs. Slowly they realise it is much more than that. Passion comes in with the onset of adolescence but that too doesn’t last! It is indeed defined and moulded by the society we live in and any efforts to change the age-old traditions are spurned. Yet it keeps growing and advancing!

      Thank you for sharing your view, much appreciated. 🙂

  4. Your quote and photo says so much ~ true love rests in our eyes as much as our hearts. It is a bit sad when you mention those (like the girl in your story) who yearns for love, but always considers it “a mirage that could only be seen in the movies” and I wonder how many people go through life this way. Never realizing that it is all around us if we just can break through and understand and nurture it properly… Powerful post Balroop, and very timely.

    1. Hi Randall,

      Thank you so much! Your words of appreciation seem like music to my ears.
      Yes, dear friend. A lot of people around the world live a life of oppression, never knowing what is love. This little girl was very lucky…much better placed than those who watch helplessly.
      Thanks for finding time to come over and share your thoughts. Much appreciated. 🙂

  5. Hi balroop. Another excellent write up…
    I think it is very difficult to describe love, since it’s a feeling. And each of us has our own opinion about love. but I guess we all can understand love and the feelings associated with it.

  6. Beautifully written, Balroop! Love is indispensable to life, after all life begins with love (or should and does for most individuals). A life without love would be barren and bizarre. One has to love, in order to see that love reciprocated. Thank you for sharing your insightful post:)

  7. Hi Balroop,

    Such a wonderful post 🙂

    It comes at the right time, especially as this is the month of love, as they say, and Valentine’s Day that’s just passed by. But that shouldn’t stop us from loving, either oneself or others, isn’t it? I guess such days are reminders if nothing else for most of us.

    You are so right about all that you mentioned, and I think love is just love, something that we can’t measure or judge for others – each to their own definition of it. But without it, I wonder how long one can go along, whether it’s the love one feels for one’s lover, child, parents, or just about anyone else. It’s one of the strongest emotion that makes the world go round.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      Since love is an innate emotion, it has to keep reinforcing itself and its good to have one day reserved for reflecting on its various aspects.

      Our definitions may vary but love keeps shining through each one of them…that’s the beauty! Thanks for sharing your perspective. You too have a nice week. 🙂

  8. Love! That is such a complex emotion, an emotion that can make us feel both good and bad about ourselves and the world around us. “Falling in love was equivalent to falling in a well.” I like this analogy: often falling in love means we take a risk to trust someone, take a risk to forge a friendship or romantic relationship. Sometimes we might fall in head first and come out the other end hurt, other times we might go through a rollercoaster ride and feel exhilarated. Certainly agree with you that love comes in all forms and shapes. It can be a grand gesture, or in the smallest of moments 🙂

    1. Hi Mabel,

      I agree with you…love is a complex emotion probably because it is so unpredictable. Isn’t it strange how it keeps changing…from passion to exhilaration to hurts it brings!

      Even within families it remains an enigma, sometimes giving great joy and other times anguish. Still we crave for it and feel incomplete without it!

      Thanks for sharing your view and adding valuable points to the discussion. 🙂

  9. How nice to read your words and thoughts on Love Balroop! For me love is a powerful tool, a light into our world, the source of everything. If we breath deeply, we could feel love entering our bodies. And when we exhale, we do send out love to the world.
    Love is all there is.
    Take care sweet Balroop and may Love keep inspiring you my friend.

    1. Yes dear friend, love is powerful as it takes us off our feet and we are ready to soar with it, without thinking of its effects. It is only when love matures do we realise how beautiful it can be.

      Thank you for such a fantastic definition of love…sending love towards you right now with my breath…. 🙂

  10. This is so profound, Balroop. You have learned so much and although lacking it as a child, you’ve made up for that love as an adult. I guess different cultures have different ways of showing their love.

    Having a happy marriage is everything. Thanks for teaching us more about this complex emotion.

  11. Thank you Lisa! You are so understanding. You are right, cultures do impose their own restrictions…that could have made love such a complex emotion!

    I appreciate your perspective on love.

  12. I think we don’t have any concrete definition of love. It’s an expansive feeling, our life would be such a mess without it! And, I’m not referring to physical or love between two partners, the way we love our parents, our kids, friends, there are millions of way we express love.
    When you neighbour feels happy seeing you, it’s definitely love 🙂
    A wonderful piece as always, Balroop.. 🙂

    1. Hi Mani,

      To my mind, love doesn’t have a concrete definition because it has various forms…like you have mentioned, plus we have our own interpretations…which keep changing according to situation and time.
      On one hand love transcends all the boundaries and barriers to offer a helping hand but on the other hand, it keeps withering within a family due to trivial issues. Quite paradoxical!

      Thank you for sharing your valuable opinion. 🙂

  13. Beautifully written dear Balroop…. I like to learn about the protagonists of my stories and her feelings towards Love…
    I couldn’t agree more with you when you state that `Love is an invisible force that can transcend all the barriers´…. that´s a powerful definition indeed…
    I thank you for always sharing valuable contents, my friend… May you always be surrounded by love and good stuff… Best wishes. Aquileana ⭐

    1. Hi Aqui, I am glad you liked my thoughts on love. Thank you so much for such kind words. I appreciate your insights. I hope you have clicked on the links – Eternal Love and Unknown Love are two of my most cherished poems.

      I love the way your friends retweet your tweets. Thank you so much. You are an awesome friend!
      Wishing you a blessed week 🙂

  14. Lovely writing as always, Balroop to dive deeply into one of the strongest emotions. I have experienced love and naturally think of love in the sense of romance and relationships…but…more and more, I’m seeing love in actions.

    More than any word we can write or emotions we can feel, I see love as a verb. I’m not saying that I have mastered it in my life – hardly 🙂 but I am trying to choose love when I deal with fear, choose love when I face anger, choose love when I face frustration or irritation.

    Every life circumstance is a master, helping us learn to love a little more 🙂 Great piece!

  15. Hi Vishnu,

    I have always been taught to show love through actions. Initially I resented as I was too young to understand that love lies in kind gestures, little acts of kindness we do for our loved ones or friends. Later I started admiring my little gestures because I realised their significance.

    That is a wonderful thought Vishnu…’choosing love over fear or anger’ is challenging but awesome! Wishing you more love and an eternal relationship.

    Thanks a ton for your kind words of appreciation. Stay blessed!

  16. Wow. Again, I am floored by your candor. My ex husband, when caught in one of his betrayals, offered, ‘There are many kinds of love.’ That phrase has haunted me for over 20 years, for there is truth in it, despite him using it as an excuse to break our marriage vows.

    In my own life, there has been much suffering as well. But somehow my spirit remains indomitably loving. I trust too easily, believe all of life simply wants to live, to survive, to thrive. Imagine how surprised, then, I continue to be at humans who use their tremendous powers of creativity in a destructive manner. It seems only people can work a capacity to love backwards into cruelty and malice. To this, I can only imagine the damage that they, themselves have endured. It does not excuse their behavior, at least for me, but it does explain it. I can see their pain, but it doesn’t mean I have to allow it to infiltrate my life. And sometimes that’s a difficult boundary to set.

    Ah, life! Ah, love! I pray you continue discovering the merits of an open heart, Balroop. Peace. Namaste. Aloha.

    1. Hi Bela,

      I am sorry you had to face heartbreak from the most trusted person but you are right, human beings use their incredible power for their own selfish pursuits and many of them are no doubt destructive. May God bless them and shine His celestial light on them!

      It is the suffering that ennobles us, that shows us the beauties of life and teaches us how counting our blessings is more significant than craving for what keeps drifting away from us. Pain is essential to appreciate the brighter aspects of life. A poet has said and I translate it into English here : The glory of a garden is enhanced not just by flowers but by thorns too…pain/sorrow too is required to live in this world…

      Yet life is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story. Stay positive. Stay blessed! Sending you love, hugs and peace.

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