Here is a quote by William Wharton: “What is love? As far as I can tell, it is passion, admiration, and respect. If you have two, you have enough, if you have 3, you don’t have to die to go to heaven!” I have chosen this quote because I have spent many years trying to figure out what is love. I wanted to learn more about it. I wanted to dissect it. I heard people talking about it all the time and there have been times in my own experiences where I was unsure of what it meant and if I should say it or not. How does a person know? That is why I chose this quote. It defines love so simply yet so significantly.
February is cupids, red roses, and velvet-boxed candies. February is the month of love. All of us could stand to learn more about love. Love is a verb. Love is an action. Love is a feeling, an emotion. There are so many misconceptions about love. It is believed by a lot of people that it is just there. That you don’t have to understand it. You don’t have to know what it is, it just exists. People go out of their way to avoid love. People deny the existence of love. However, love is within us. We were created to love and so it is there all the time. But if you don’t know how to recognize it, if you don’t know how to set it free, or express it, then it really doesn’t matter if it’s there or not. Through fear, or past situations, or even worries of what the future will hold, there are a lot of negative emotions that can actually hold us back from expressing love and “taking the lid off.” I like to imagine a mason jar like canned peaches or something along those lines. It is tightly sealed. It may even be troublesome to open. I think that is what happenes in our lives. We keep the lid tightly on. Sealed even. You have got to take the lid off of it! Keeping the lid on love is detrimental to our health and well-being. Love can bring out such wonderful things in your life.
Let’s look at the word passion. I once talked with someone who thought passion was not a good thing. I can see that in some situations, passion can lead to negativity. Especially when one is over the edge, or has excessive amounts of feelings that end up causing more trouble if they are passionate about something that is not healthy for them. So that is one way to look at it. But the reverse of that is one which with we are more familiar; that of a strong feeling or emotion. A strong liking, strong desire for someone or something. A healthy passion is another word for love. If you are a passionate person, you’re showing emotions which are affected strongly by feelings in certain areas in your life.
In realtionships, love is allowing yourself to have a strong desire towards someone. This may be difficult for some people. Especially people who respond out of fear. When we allow ourselves to become passionate about something it’s almost like riding a roller coaster. If you get too involved in that high, in that goodness, there can be a huge “let-down” if it doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. It does come with risks. It reminds me of another quote. This one I kept on my fridge for many years. “Great success and great love involve great risk.” It does take risk to let your guard down and allow yourself to be passionate because you can end up looking like a fool. We have done this in success as well as career choices in our lives. But you have to let your guard down in order to have those passionate feelings flow through you.
Admiration is another part of love. Admiration is defined as great and delighted approval. I love the way those words are put together. Have you ever had that with someone? Approval is when you acknowledge another person’s choices or decisions. That is to say, you may have similar interests, or your value system is the same. It is a common ground. To be delighted in the decisions that he or she makes. When you see eye-to-eye, the reflection of the other person’s decisions and values are like-minded and this causes us to have a pleasing appreciation for them. Admiration in someone is recognizing that we are all unique but being able to share common ideas in such a way that we develop feelings and deeper bonds.
Respect is another key to defining love. As we have heard in life, you cannot demand it; you have to earn it. You can claim to be respectful, you can demand that others respect you, but it’s really your actions that create a manner of respect. Holding someone in a high or special regard, an expression of regard or courtesy to another person is how it is defined. If you respect someone, then you consider them worthy. People’s decency in their day-to-day conduct help us to guage respect. One doesn’t go around respecting anyone you see or meet, although you could. People have to earn respect by how they treat others. This means that you’ve paid attention to who they are in life and how others treat them. You’ve seen how they react in certain situations. You see what they do for a living or in their free-time. Respect is defined by your preferences. What you consider to be important to you, what you believe to be respectful behavior is going to be unique to each individual. Finding that in another person can bring out a lot of respect and draw you in close to one another.
So, if you have a combination of passion-a strong feeling or emotion, admiration-delighted approval, and respect-a special regard, William Wharton would say that you don’t have to die to go to heaven because this kind of love feels absolute and amazingly wonderful. This is his definition of love and I would have to agree with him. What a great combination to have all three! He points out that if you have two, it is enough but it could be phenomenal with all three. What if you have admiration and respect? Would that be enough for you? Or what if you had respect and passion? Could you live in a relationship with just those two? I would like to think that if you had respect and admiration, that it would eventually lead to passion. I am willing to assume that having a combination of any two would lead to the third. Why not take a look at these 3 keys of love: passion, admiration, and respect. Take the lid off of the mason jar that holds your love inside. Act on these measures. Learn about yourself. Choose to love all things in your life. But hold out for that person in your life that makes you feel all three of these things. Because as Wharton said, “you wouldn’t have to die to go to heaven.”
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