Accoutrements

Love

(Originally posted last October, this post came to mind when reading today’s Daily Prompt: I Want to Know What Love Is so I’m joining in the conversation in a lazy Saturday style. Click on the link above to see more responses!)

I got to thinkin about love this morning.

I do some of my best thinking in the shower which is inconvenient; it’s harder to record those inspirations as they arise with the steam.

But today the thoughts have stayed with me, and I’ll share them here.

I don’t know why, but we all seem to have an idea of what love looks like. Perhaps it came from how we were treated as littles, or perhaps it’s how we were not treated. But we all have it. A definition sometimes subtle, often unexpressed even to ourselves, let alone others.

So if the way you treat me matches my understanding of love, why, then, you love me. And if the way I treat you coincides with your definition, you know that I love you. Simple.

Except when my definition of love doesn’t match yours. Which, let’s be honest, is more than likely. Is it still love if I can’t see it? If we can’t feel it? Of course it is, right? Right? Huh.

According to Wiktionary, there is a definition of love: strong affection. Sure, ok. But what does that look like? I know how I feel inside, but how I show you might not get the message across. Sometimes we just feel unloved, despite being near someone who harbors “strong affection” for us. I might do your laundry when you were looking for a back rub, You might change the oil in my car when I was looking for flowers. He might interpret phone calls as mistrust when she thinks she’s being communicative. She wonders why he won’t open doors when he thinks he’s being respectful. Almost cliche, really, when it comes down to the many ways we can misinterpret love. Lovers, friends, family – we all do it to each other; we seek our own definition shown back to us. Wouldn’t it be easier to just tell each other what we seek? Wouldn’t it be easier to simply give the beloved what is desired? Or at least put it on the table up front and see if the accoutrements of love are acceptable by both parties.

Again from Wiktionary: one source of love, etymologically speaking, comes from old English:  liefan – to grant, allow or consent; to trust, believe, confide in.

And when I get to that idea, it all seems so simple again.

Can you trust me? Can you allow me to be myself? Will you confide in me?

I accept you. I believe in you.

Ahh, that’s love.

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