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What Does It Mean To Be In Love?

March  11th,  2021
By Clare read
Posted in Culture

There it is, the daring and daunting “L word”. Some may find it terrifying, and others find it thrilling. But when people say, “I’m in love”, what does that really mean? I have many friends who claim that they have never been in love. Now, while it may very well be true that they have never been romantically in love, I don’t believe it’s possible that they have never felt the authentic fruits that come from being “in love.” So again, what does it mean to be in love? We live in an overly sexual, obsessive, and boundaryless culture, and it is from these flaws of our human nature where we try to define and understand the meaning of “love”. How often do we base the strength of our relationships (romantic or platonic) on how often we text a certain person? What our snap streak is? Whether we wish them a “happy birthday” on our instagram story (or feature them in a post if you REALLY love them)? Guys, tell me this isn’t absolutely outrageous! It’s heartbreaking to know how shallow the standards of love have become. But fear not, I’m here to really lay it out for you. 

To love someone is to will their good, that is, to always consider what’s best for the person you’re striving to love. Now, let me take a second to emphasize a part of that sentence: striving to love. The word “love” stands as an action piece in that sentence, just as it does in statements such as, “I love you” or “He loves me”. So that being said, I would argue that “love” is more of an action than it is a feeling. That’s not to say the emotions of infatuation, joy, peace and elatedness aren’t or shouldn’t be present when we love someone! These emotions are a wonderful gift we receive when we love someone. However, I don’t know about you, but I know that my positive and negative emotions are constantly coming and going. So if we limited love to the mere feeling of being elated, I don’t think any of us would be in love for very long. The reality is, being in love isn’t just a state of mind and heart, rather it’s a choice we are called to make every moment of everyday. And this choice isn’t just to be made for your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. In fact, we are called to fall in love not just with one person, but with everyone. I know that might sound weird, but hear me out. Imagine a world where the dignity and goodness of each and every person is placed at the forefront of everything we do (work, school, leisure, sports, etc.) To approach each and every person with a sense of reverence and to deeply consider their sheer goodness – what a world that would be! Now, this may sound like some lofty ideal that would never actually come to life. But I’m here to tell you HECK NO!

Send that lie back to the depths of hell, right where it came from. This is something that IS possible, and it starts with YOU. Here are some little ways you can choose to love, while remaining in love: 

● Always extend your friendship. Let’s be honest, there are some cranky people in this world. I know that when I see someone in a bad mood, I can become pretty anxious to approach them at all. But I also know that when I’m in a bad mood, my heart is so softened when someone goes out of their way to seek me. That can happen in ways such as asking the simple question of “how are you doing?” or maybe affirming that person in how much they mean to you. But, of course, those are just two of many examples; the sky’s the limit! 

● Really consider what is best for the person you are striving to love. Say my best friend had a hard week; they were extremely busy from morning to night every day. By the end of the week, I really miss them and want to see them! But after this long, strenuous week, maybe my friend really just needs a night to herself to relax and recharge. Allow me to acknowledge that my desire to see my bestfriend is NOT a bad thing, it is actually very good. But again we need to consider the situation, and consider what is best for my friend. As much as I want to see this person, the loving thing for me to do would be to not only allow, but also encourage my friend to take the time she needs to recover from the hard week she had. 

● Be authentic, be vulnerable, be humble. Love requires this. Putting your heart out there is not an easy thing, but I can assure you that it is quite rewarding. There have been times where the loving thing for me to do is to apologize for something I’ve done wrong. This is something that I’ve always struggled with doing; my pride is strong and my nerves are even stronger. So in this action of love by way of apologizing, I have to express a very humble and vulnerable part of myself. I have to sacrifice. Yet I recognize the pattern of authenticity, humility and vulnerability in just about every action I take when I strive to love. Because the truth of the matter is, that person can reject the love you are freely giving them. And that’s a scary thing. But don’t let that stop you from loving each person you encounter! Even if your love was not outwardly received or reciprocated, it remains in their hearts – and they probably need it more than most.

While love is a beautiful thing, it’s okay to admit that it’s not an easy thing. Being in love requires sacrifice and sometimes that comes with heartache. But rest assured, that’s not always the case! Love is the foundation of who we are and what makes us come to life. Love is the source of all of our wild adventures and times of deep joy. So let’s fall in love and stay in love!!! 

“Love is never something ready made, something merely ‘given’ to man and woman, it is always at the same time a ‘task’ which they are set. Love should be seen as something which in a sense never ‘is’ but is always only ‘becoming’, and what it becomes depends up on the contribution of both persons and the depth of their commitment.” – St. John Paul II, Love and Responsibility.

About the Author

Clare graduated from Walsh University in 2019, earning a bachelors degree in Sociology Applied Family Studies, along with a minor in Psychology. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Clare comes from a large family of ten children and two loving parents! Clare always had a passion for ministry, as well as a profound desire to learn the deeper meaning behind human existence. When she found The Culture Project, it opened the door for her to do just that. The deeper meaning that she had been so desperately searching for was revealed to Clare through this mission, and she is now determined to spread it herself. "I should not have had to search for the meaning behind my body, my worth, and my existence at the age of 23. I said 'yes' to this mission because we should not have to search at all; we deserve to have the truth be brought to us. We are all entitled to that deeper meaning without the tireless search, and that's exactly why I am thrilled to be serving as a missionary with The Culture Project."

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