Love 101: A Refresher Course

Photo Courtesy of 

It’s back to school season and while the kids are loading up on notebooks, pens, crayons, and pencils, I thought it would be a perfect time for us to revisit school ourselves. How about a quick refresher course on love? With the world growing colder with each passing day, sometimes we need to be reminded about ways in which we can enhance and grow the love that we presently have in our lives or attract new love to us. In order to do this, we need to have some fundamental understanding about what love is and what love isn’t. We also need to build up our love vocabulary, so we can verbally communicate our love effectively. However, when words aren’t enough, we need to have practical ways to show our love through affection and physical acts. Show and tell in love is a powerful combination. So let’s pretend we’re in school and the subject we must pass is Love 101.

There is no need to feel intimidated and there are no prerequisites for this course. Since you have a heart and are living, you qualify to love and be loved. Maybe you haven’t felt much love in your life or didn’t have healthy examples to follow growing up. Maybe due to bad, hurtful relationships; your view of love has been distorted or tainted. It is never too late to learn how to receive and give love in a way that is fulfilling, healthy, and wonderful. I grew up with a family that wasn’t very affectionate or loving. On the contrary, it was a mean and unloving environment for the most part because, as I would later find out, they were repeating habits and beliefs shown to them about what it meant to love and be loved (I’ll save this for another post). However, I knew this wasn’t how I wanted to live my life or what I wanted my family to be like when I grew up and had one. Instead of repeating the unhealthy behaviors that didn’t make me feel loved at all, I chose to do the opposite of what I saw and what I was receiving. As a result; I’m warm, I hug, I kiss, I smile, I laugh (a lot), I edify those around me, and am comfortable now being mushy when it comes to the people I love and care about. It took me some time to get to this place in my life, however. I had to unlearn the unhealthy love habits introduced to me at a very young age and that shaped my view of what it meant to love and be loved by someone. I had to be brave enough to try, blindly, through practical application my interpretations of how I felt love was supposed to be given and received. I tried and failed and then tried some more until I began making and seeing progress in my relationships both platonic and romantic. I replaced the unhealthy love habits with better ones; I studied people in successful, loving relationships and observed how they acted in love. I paid attention to the words they used when they communicated with each other, their temperaments, and their use of practical application to show each other love. I then took my notes and tailored them to my personality and relationships because I realized it was no use in professing my love for someone if my actions didn’t compliment the things I said.

After all, how can we profess love for someone if we have no idea what it means to love? You don’t need to be a genius, but you do need to be willing to learn and try new things out with practical application to see what works for you and your loved ones. Love is not a generic, one-size-fit all experience. Love should be tailor made to fit each individual relationship. Learning how to evolve in love is also crucial. I still make mistakes because I’m still learning and growing personally as an individual, but I’m determined to leave my mark of love on the people who I’m blessed to encounter. It’s very important for the people around me to feel loved by me. So, I will forever be a student of love. So, let’s get started. Class is now in session at Love U! Patch Adams said it best, “Imagine if we taught Love in schools as a subject like math…what a different world we would live in.” Yes Patch I do agree! So here goes.

Love Defined defines love (n.) to mean: 1. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness. 2. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance. Love (v.) means: 1. To have an intense emotional attachment to 2. To embrace or caress. 3. To like or desire enthusiastically 4. To thrive on; need: Love (v.intr.)1. To experience deep affection or intense desire for another.

Love is subjective and is shown and interpreted in as many ways as there are people and animals on the planet. Love is demonstrated in some of the following actions; kindness, respect, consideration, a decision, hard work, friendship, communication and sharing, affection, honesty, responsibility, vulnerability, trust, action, emotional attachment and the list can go on and on.

Love isn’t violence, abuse, selfishness, pain, jealously, possessiveness, hurtful actions, doing harm to someone, dependency, manipulation, deceit, the physical act of sex without emotional attachment, and this list too is endless, but you get the picture. Love is not self-seeking and it is not a weapon used to inflict pain upon someone. Anyone who says otherwise is lying and is not seeking to love, but to harm and destroy. Love doesn’t tear down, it builds up.

So now that our foundation for love has been laid, we can build upon it by developing our love vocabulary. In the next course of Love U we will start with the basics of building our love vocabulary! Until then, share with me some of your personal definitions of love?

With Love & Gratitude,
~C. Nzingha