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What Does the Word ‘Love’ Mean To You?

What Does the Word ‘Love’ Mean To You?

“Love is a many splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!”

Moulin Rouge – a movie all about love with their well-known quote, “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return”. The movie perfectly portrays how two people who were not allowed to be together would do everything in their willpower to love each other till they take their last breath.

That’s probably the general view of loving someone unconditionally that you would do everything and anything to be together. However, with over 7 billion people on this planet, not everyone will have the same definition. Love is a very diverse term. Everyone needs it in some way or another, and therefore, everyone has their own definition to what ‘love’ means to them.

Haikal, 12, Romantic, Adventurous

In my opinion, love is not how much you say ‘I love you’ but how much you can prove it’s true. It’s about how patient and kind you are, it does not include boasting, it is not how arrogant and rude you are.

Love means accepting a person with all their failures, stupidities, and their imperfection. For example, love means there is no more busy world, it’s always about priorities. You will always find times you feel the most important about.

So in conclusion, I think love is a variety of different feelings; it’s about accepting someone for who they are and have feelings and do whatever it takes to have their forgiveness or even their heart.

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Joseph, 21, Withdrawn Over-Thinker

I don’t believe in love at first sight. Attraction at first sight, yes. Affection at first sight, perhaps. But love?

Love, to me, rests on the same cline as companionship. And companionship is the foundation of love. Respect, understanding, and enthusiasm are the pillars on which this foundation is built – not initial attraction, not initial perception.

I suppose I am, to an extent, a victim of the ‘mere-exposure effect,’ in which a preference for someone or something comes with familiarity. I was close friends with my girlfriend for seven years before ‘asking her out,’ and I truly think that this friendship has served as an excellent point of reference over the last two years.

Therein lies the crux of my contention: love is not the gunshot signaling that the race has begun, but nor is it the feeling of crossing the finishing line. Love is the race – the journey – itself. Cliché? Yeah, sort of, but I do think it holds that the muddy concept of ‘love’ cannot be confined to the claustrophobic space of initial meeting, and this casts heavy doubts over the idea of love at first sight.

I respect but can’t identify with the desire for ‘one night stands’ or ‘wicked hooks,’ or whatever lingo is being used these days to denote seemingly frivolous dealings with a significant (or not so significant) other. It simply isn’t in my personality to consider such physical interaction to be so detached from emotional connection.

Of course, that’s not to say that love is static; it is an ever-changing construct, arbitrarily named and largely blurred at its edges. For some people, love at first sight might both exist and be fruitful, and I’m totally fine with that. In fact, let me make an amendment to my opening statement: I don’t believe in love at first sight for me.

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Love exists outside the realm of human relationships, but I think nuanced meaning clouds its existence. I love coffee, I love the fresh air, and I love poetry, but I’m not in love with them.

I am in love with my girlfriend.

Kirsty, 23, Secretly Sentimental

An important element of love is to love yourself. Accept yourself and embrace the parts of yourself that you don’t necessarily like about yourself. This is an important lesson in how to love someone else. If you love yourself, you can be more generous with the love you give to others. You find yourself feeling more fulfilled and more loved than you could possibly imagine. You’ll find yourself smiling at the thought of whoever it is that you find you love. Love means seeing flaws and accepting them as positive traits. You’ll feel a sense of completeness that you never knew you were lacking in the first place, and no matter how long you’ve been apart whether it be hours or months you’ll feel like you’re coming home.

Luke, 21, Avocado Enthusiast

To possess a true love for something, some place, some ideology or someone and feel the reciprocation is often perceived as a final hurdle on a pathway to utopia, ‘a hypothetical place or state of things where everything is perfect.’

If I were to use something as simple as an “avocado” as a representation of any human, object or place capable of being truly loved; love can be defined to me as the feelings you are overcome with when you stumble across one of these wonderful green oval-shaped specimens, one that is of perfect ripeness, far superior to any avocado you’ve found on the shelves before. So flawless that as your knife pierces through the delicate skin effortlessly leaving you two immaculate halves not only does your heart and mind constantly discover new boundaries of excitement but a level of contentedness and satisfaction settles in.

With a little feta cheese to accompany, all spread over the finest sourdough toast, and experienced in your own personal paradise, each bite brings forth feelings of invincibility and superiority that not a thing in the world can overcome the sheer happiness. I love avocados.

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Sarah, 14, Open-Minded and Exciting

What is love to me? Love is something unconditional and can’t really be explained in words. Of course, I’ve never experienced it yet, but it’s something I wish to feel in my lifetime.

The best way you can really say it is, it’s a feeling that you can’t shake, no matter how hard you try. The feeling when you love that special someone or something you can never live without. The feeling to need them and protect them.

Love is when you look at that person, and your heart accelerates, you get goosebumps. Every time you touch them you feel the electricity radiating off the both of you. You can never feel selfish with them and sacrifice anything or everything if it means you can be with them for the rest of your life. It’s when that person makes you happy no matter how you’re feeling. No matter the gender, ethnicity or person.

But love isn’t easy, it comes with consequences and sacrifices that if you are willing to make you know you’ve found the right someone/something.

I know very few people who are truly, deeply, and madly in love with each other, and let me tell you every time I see that it gives me the shred of hope that there actually might be someone out there for me.

So that’s what love is to me. How bout you?

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Sharvin, 19, Dog Lover

Everyone at a pinnacle point in their life has experienced love regardless if they were loved or have been loved. It’s an inevitable feeling that captures the heart with full on passion, infatuation, and desire. It comes in all sorts of forms like with family, friends or an intimate love. In my experience, love “feels so good but hurts so bad”, I went through many amazing memories of my life with the women I love but at the end, it will either end up a fairytale or just like a wrecking ball being swung at you at immense pace.

My love generally lies in the animal kingdom. Such exquisite creatures roaming on our planet for millions of years and have been proven a predominant significance. Dogs are my favorite, especially pugs, golden retrievers, shih tzu, and corgi’s! I have a pet dog that, in all honesty, feels like another younger sibling. Their presence is a remedy for sadness or stress; they will be there through your ups and downs, which clearly defines the term, “dogs are a man’s best friend”. They may be a little annoying at times when it comes to barking or pooping all over the house but hey they are not as privileged as humans to have an intellect.

Marina, 20, Classic and Eclectic

To me, love is the most powerful thing on this planet. It can make you go crazy, feel every emotion a human ought to feel all mixed together, it can make you sick, and it can also make you feel more alive than anything ever can. Whether it’s loving yourself or loving someone else (or even loving an idea or a thing), it will consume you and make you feel infinite.

To me, I know that love is the greatest thing out there – that without it, we are nothing. Something that pushes you to achieve it, no matter what others say or who stops you. It’s the happiness it can bring you when you’re feeling down and once taken away, that’s when you feel like everything has gone to hell.

To be frank, it is dangerous to love, but it’s a risk you should be willing to take. Love so deeply it overwhelms you. Once you fall in love with something or someone, you’ll know it. Trust me on this. It may take time, but it’ll be worth it. You just need to find your star.

Featured photo credit: Susanne Nilsson via flickr.com

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NOORMARINA ANWAR

Student, Monash University

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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