What is LOVE Exactly?

I am sure many of you have asked yourselves “What is love?” or “What does it mean to be in love?” Love, in the dictionary is defined as “1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. 2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.” There are movies, television shows, and especially songs that give us examples of interesting relationships based off of what they call “love”. In these movies people date, hold hands, whisper sweet nothings in each others ear, and go to the ends of the earth to fight for their undying “love”. In love songs we hear men and women singing about how “love” makes them weak in the knees, they can hardly speak or eat or sleep, and drive u crazy insane with euphoric highs and suicidal lows. But what if I told you those aren’t

examples of real love at all? Better yet what if I told you, that real love is not nor should it ever be based on feelings and emotions, and that we’ve been conditioned to believe and experience it as such. Well let me introduce you to a lecture given by Dr. Amos Wilson.

When I watched the lecture by Dr. Amos Wilson on the topic, I had never heard love broke down and explained in that fashion before.  He explains why we must love ourselves first, then we can love others, and also we must learn to love and express love in more ways than just elation, which is generally what we see and hear on television and in the movies. Which made me feel like I was not crazy for never believing in the love that media,society, and friends were telling me I was missing out on. Dr. Wilson feels that we are being programmed to experience and share love like we do, through the television, movies, and music. I agree, with his theory. Very seldom do I hear people say they love their boyfriend/girlfriend because he/she respects them or that person encourages them to be better people. Generally I hear how the other person “makes them feel” or its based off of physical attributes. According to Dr. Wilson feelings, emotions and appearances change too much to entirely base a marriage and raise a family on. Don’t get me wrong, attraction is important, but unfortunately what people are attracted to, a lot of times, isn’t very good for them, and Dr. Wilson touches on that aspect as well. He explains how often times we don’t even love ourselves, so the mates we choose reflect that, and we will consistently choose a person who perpetuates the self hate we have for ourselves. For example, if you like to smoke crack, knowing its bad for you, you will not choose to be with a person who doesn’t allow you to smoke crack. Instead you want someone who will support your habit. He further explains the love shared between the black family has been “shaped and maintained by political, social, circumstances, the love we share with each other is based on our past and present experiences”, and due to the unique experience/history of blacks, it affects the way we love. Therefore history must be understood, and he gave an awesome example. He said, “Psychologist require you to give them your past history before you talk about what’s going on in your present, so why wouldn’t you want to know the history of your black people to understand the present  day black people?” Too often in the black community children are left fatherless, and the mother is left to pick up the pieces, and be that “strong black woman” who is spoken of today.

“When you want to destroy a community, you destroy their ability to love one another” -Dr. Wilson

Then you have mothers who make babies, but never really make their children or themselves a priority, therefore they become stuck in a vicious cycle of never truly knowing how to love themselves or their children properly and there the cycle persists. One of my favorite points he makes is when he discusses how the child is born into the community, therefore the love shared or not shared in the family will influence the nature of the community. So you see romantic love will influence more than just the man/woman involved.  He explains all of this and more in the video below, so I encourage you to take some time out to really watch this video, and please share with your loved ones.

I was raised by my father, and he always told me he loved me, but he also did things, like make sure I ate nutritious food, made sure I stayed in extra curricular activities, he showed me affection, and sacrificed to show how much he truly loved me. So the love I learned from my father, I never could connect it to the so called love my friends were experiencing nor the love guys told me they felt for me. When I started dating and seeking male companionship, I always referred back to the love my father taught me.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs

Like Dr. Wilson says, love is learned. So you see, my thinking of love is a direct line to how my father loved me. If you have never experienced your mother or father (or whoever raised you) loving you, by providing for you, making education a priority, making sure you have healthy well balanced meals, supporting and respecting your ideas, and just overall respecting you as a person, well then how would you know how to receive or give that kind of love back? The answer is you would not! It would take many trial and errors to gain that understanding. Looking back at the men and women in my life who were struggling with relationships amongst their family, and their romantic relationships with men/women, I would see them fighting/arguing/depressed all for someone who never truly loved them in the first place! I recognize now that they did not know any better, because they never experienced that true first love and acceptance from their mother, father, family unit. And that’s why Dr. Wilson says a lot of the love issues blacks have ends up being generational, because it takes time to work out these kinks and for people to get over the hurt from never truly being loved.

Now think back to when blacks in this country were enslaved in the African Holocaust. We were not allowed to marry, and when it was allowed it wasn’t recognized legally. Women and men were breeded, children and babies were torn from their mothers arms and sold to other plantations, where most often they had NO contact with their children. Women were raped by their master’s, men were held back or threatened with death if they tried to save their women. Black men were treated as breeding studs, and fathered many children, and were hardly ever allowed to really be a father to any of his children. Which after many years of being indoctrinated in this lifestyle, left the black men, out of emotional necessity,  to distance themself from the family that he was not allowed to protect. It left black women to bear all their burdens on their own. Although all that and more happened to slaves on a day-to-day basis, slaves were still able to love and accept each other as best they could. In my opinion many black men and women have not been released mentally from slavery. For example some scientist attribute fears of snakes, spiders, and wolves to our human history of surviving when we lived close to nature. So I don’t think it is far-fetched to say, that black people’s relationships with each other are still suffering, due to being enslaved over four hundred years. However if we all take the time to conscientiously work on loving each other in more ways than one, starting with yourself, I think further generations will not have to suffer like so many do today.

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