Love. Without it, where would we be? Would a Mother Teresa be moved to helped the dying and “poorest of poor”? Would poets write sonnets and musicians record the range of emotions of the human heart? Would movies like “Love Actually,” “Casablanca” and “The Notebook” exist? Would anyone be as interested in what happened to the R.M.S. Titanic if a movie hadn’t been made that documented the heartbreaking and heroic love story of Jack and Rose? Would school be as fun without school crushes? Would winning a game, being successful, or making the big sale be as wonderful without sharing it with a beloved? Would life be worth living without love?
It’s no wonder W.S. Gilbert wrote, “It is love that makes the world go round.”
I think many of agree love makes the world go round. Some of us have tried to study and scientifically understand it. Grow it. Preserve it. Or dissect it and ruin it. I suspect psychology, pop-psychology, and well-meaning friends and family have done the latter.
Face it—love is an ethereal condition that can bring us to our highest selves and also break through our strongest fortitude. It’s mysterious and sublime along with being unsettling and crazy-making. It is both salvation and destruction.
Perhaps that’s why some of us try to study it and attempt to research and cite “facts” that will help others reap love’s benefits while avoiding its pitfalls. This is the kind of stuff that addresses love as a drug and the addiction of love and the tendency for one to attract a partner that is unavailable or abusive. It cites having healthy boundaries, loving yourself so you can be loved by others, and beware of being codependent. While all of the research means well, it gets easily spread into pop-psychology lingo where everyone has an opinion that psychopathologizes love. Basically, they say you’re crazy if you give away all your money and help the poor; they tell you why the man or woman of your dreams is not the one; they tell you to take care of yourself and not get swept up in romance and emotions.
If you’ve ever been in love or moved by your heart to truly do something then you know the opinions of others around you aren’t really going to matter. For those brave Souls that dare to follow the tuggings of love in their heart, this list is for you.
May your New Year be filled with love—brave love—the kind that moves mountains, inspires art, and cultivates compassion from the most unlikely.