Love is idealized, romanticized, made into some kind of thing to be worshipped.  But what is it really?  And is it what life is really about? 

Well, yes and no.  It depends on how you define it and what it really is.

"When all your desires are distilled you will cast just two votes:  To love more and be happy."

But, I say that "to love" is what leads to the final desire, which is "to be happy."

"To love" feels good.  Evolution "decided it so", as those who loved stuck together and survived, to pass their genes down to future generations.  Those who didn't did not do so well in passing their genes down. 

It "feels good" to love, which means it makes us happy. 

If we are no longer loved or we are rejected, the primitive mind says "oh, oh, I am being threatened and my survival probability has been reduced" and then it does its thing to spur us on, by emitting negative feeling chemicals to motivate us to remedy the situation so we can better survive to procreate more.  (See The Story Of Our Happy And Our Unhappy Chemicals.)

But the more and more we grow up in life, the more we realize that we do not "need" to be loved by others, as we see that we are no longer dependent like children for others to meet our needs.  And, yes, though we can step aside, we do appreciate the natural good feelings of being loved, recognized, liked - for those are instinctual and perfectly fine to enjoy.  The "I need to be loved" however is seen to not be a truth and we need not suffer at all from "not being loved" by a particular person.  We also learn, as we grow, that we are no longer dependent on "approval" as an "ok, you can live and not be kicked out of the tribe to die in the jungle" - and we no longer seek approval as a means of validation - which frees us up to live of life with more "life value" and far less negativity.


Douglas A. Smith, in Happiness, calls it "the one thing."  "It is the love we have for ourselves and for others that leads to true joy."  Notice that he did not say "love received". 

Victor Frankl, in Man's Search For Meaning:  "The truth - that love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire."  Yes, once we are "free to love" and no longer dependent, we can reach the pinnacle of the actual highest goal: deep, enduring, unconditional happiness.

Smith, again:  "The most fundamental decision we can make, regarding happiness, is to love:  to care for ourselves, to care for others and to care for the world in which we live."

Indeed, it is our belief that love will make us happy that causes us to feel happy.  It is the meaning we give to "giving to another" that makes us happy.  And, unfortunately, it is the false meaning that we give to "not being loved" or being rejected that makes us unhappy - but with "life learning" one can remove that meaning into a nothingness, with no real meaning in today's world. 


It is said that there are only two things:  love or fear.  And that you are acting in one or the other, but not both.  If you fear losing someone, you are not operating from love - you are just "needing" love, which, of course, is in no way acting from "love".

In the overall context of life, love has broadened out from something that is an attachment to another human being but to mean anything that contributes good for mankind.  When we are progressive and solution oriented, we are coming from love - perhaps from a reverence for life, a form of "love". 


Love from another or love for oneself?

Without discussing this in deep philosophical terms, I say that love for oneself is the most important. 

We can get along without love from others.  We can survive just fine.

But we can never do well if we do not love ourselves and feel good about and toward ourselves.  Indeed this is one of the essential ingredients to being happy in life - without it we cannot be happy.  And our very purpose, as the Dalai Lama agrees, is to be happy in life.  (See The Essentials For Creating Happiness.) 

And, be warned, that depending on something that we have no control over for our happiness is not a great idea.  Putting "love" into our own hands, under our own control, puts us back into the seat of power to cause our lives to be as we wish it to be.  
And, when we see this, we will notice that we have reached the level of wisdom in life where we live for our values and are totally free - we are "self actualized", the top of the pyramid that Maslow speaks of.   (See The Self Actualized Person - Living The Life I Wish To, With No Contingencies.)

Love is being open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance."   John and Patrice Robson

What Is Love?  And What Is Not Love? - Take the test to see how loving you really are.

Marianne Williamson:
"Love is what we are born with.  Fear is what we learn.  The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts.  Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth.  To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.  Meaning does not lie in things.  Meaning lies in us."

Kinda true, in a way. A bit idealized, with some assumptions presented as "truth", but nice and positive.

It might help lead us toward our purpose in life, but it is a "means to", not the actual purpose.  (See The Meaning Of Life, Life's Purpose.)

And it is true that if one is to grow spiritually (as a person, that is), one must "unlearn fear".  And the more one is consciously loving of oneself and others, the more happy one is, for that is one of the best experiences in life.  We are wired to feel good from it and it makes us feel safer when we receive it in return.

Outside article

I appreciate the distinction made in this article:  Is It Fear, Or Is It Love?