Defining Love – Part VI: The Yin and Yang of Love

Although I cannot imagine this will be the last time I write about the topic of love, I do think this will be the final in this series “Defining Love”. Please feel free to read the earlier posts in this series.

As my readers already know, I always learn from writing on any topic. Through the process of verbalizing my ideas and beliefs, I am forced to give careful consideration to my own thoughts and thus distill what for me is a truer perception of the world around me. So what have I learned in writing this series?

First, this topic is so broad and intricate in depth and meaning that no short read can truly do justice to the subject matter. I could write an entire book about love, but alas it would be lost in a sea of other writings on the subject. All of which hope to provide you some clue as to what love is or should be, and none of which will be exactly correct.

Second, love is the most personal of concepts. How we each view love is certainly structured by our own experiences, beliefs, and desires. It is to each individual a different thing and is manifested in different ways. It spans our connection to other people, from acquaintances to our closest family. And with each different relationship the expectations, conditions, and rewards are equally as different.

Third, although unconditional love is often what we believe we are seeking, it is so rare as to be almost non-existent in partnering relationships. We set conditions to giving our love to our partners and for good reason. With proper self-esteem comes self-love. And with a lack of self-love comes the chance of being taking advantage of, even to the point of having a grave negative impact in our own lives and our own self-worth. We cannot truly love others if we lose the love we have for ourselves.

Lastly, I have come to see love as a beautiful expression of the Yin and Yang of Taoist philosophy. The Yin and Yang symbol that we have all become familiar with represents that in all things there is an interconnection. Without darkness there is no concept of light. As polar opposites, one cannot exist without the other. And though they are opposite, they are also equal.

So it is with love. It brings us our greatest joys and our greatest sorrows. It produces the elation as quickly as it yields the pain. It requires much to be given and gives much in return. It breeds our acts of generosity and fuels our acts of disdain. It can envelope the universe or be held in the hand of a child. It is what we seek most and what we most fear. It opens our hearts and builds the walls we protect ourselves with.

Its diametric nature is almost without comparison. It is universally a word we use to convey specific feelings or emotions, yet it can mean a myriad of different things to different people. We trust the context of its use will insure that its proper meaning is discerned, but that can rarely be the case. The person who reads or hears the word cannot possibly fathom the full meaning that is intended in its use. The true meaning lies only in the mind of the user. Their concepts and perceptions, vastly unique, cannot be contained in a single word.

Yet, as true as they may be, it is also the word that is not used enough when it comes to the people we care about. But do not throw it out like every other word or it will lose its power. Take the time, in a moment of quiet, to hold the hand and look into the eyes of someone you love and say it like you mean it. Speak it with conviction, feel it in your heart, let it pass from your lips with admiration, and let them see it in your eyes. Then you will have shared with them your definition of love.

© 2012  Commonsensibly Speaking ~ Brad Osborne

2 Responses to “Defining Love – Part VI: The Yin and Yang of Love”
  1. anticsofaserialdater says:

    Great series and while it doesn’t necessarily answer the question of “what is love?” it’s because, as you stated, it can never really be defined. That being said, if one has a clearer understanding of which love they are feeling, they can be more honest with themselves and therefore, (hopefully) more honest with others. I philos this series (not used correctly I’m sure; but, I wanted to try it on for size).

    • Brad Osborne says:

      If any of us can use the word with a little more meaning in the future, then some good may have been done. Or at least consider that what we are trying to convey to the ones we care about may need to be more than a quick “love you” as we head out the door. We can’t assume that “I Love You” says everything we want to say to the people we hold dear. Thanks for your comment and readership!

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