Love and Like

August 24, 2016

Dating, Personal Growth

The word “love” has a great many meanings, and for that reason—among others—it can be a source of enormous confusion. We say, for example, that we love our children, our lover, our spouse, and our friends. But we also say that we love chocolate, our favorite movie stars, and vacations. Confusing.

For this reason we must have a clear definition of what love—Real Love—is, which is an unconditional concern for the happiness of others. THAT is love. Conditional love, making love, loving chocolate, loving a hot bath, and loving a particular movie often have little to do with love at all, and we would be far better served to have the word love removed from everything that is not the real thing. For example:

We conditionally trade Imitation Love with each other in many ways, and we simply like the feeling we get from the arrangement. But this is not love.

When we make love, we like the many physical and emotional sensations that result, but again, this is rarely love.

At the end of a tiring day, it can feel luxurious to immerse tired muscles and skin in the depths of a warm, scented bath. We like it, but it’s not love.

It seems then, from this brief sampling, that what we tend to call “love” is instead merely “liking.”

It gets particularly confusing when love and like are examined side by side. We can, for example, like something—or someone—but not love it, and we can love someone but not like them. How can this be?

For many years I helped a man, Ron, who had been a severe alcoholic for decades, to the point that he was even receiving disability payments for his addiction. He lived in primitive government subsidized housing, had no friends, and did little but panhandle for the funds with which he could buy alcohol. I brought him to my home, visited with him in his home, helped him manage his diet, and more. He was often resistant and very difficult to deal with, but I made a decision to care for him. In the end, however, nothing I did seemed to break his focus on drinking.

I loved Ron, but being around him was not fun. Most of the time he was barely present, since he was either drunk, hung over, or thinking about his next drink. In short, I loved him, but it would be inaccurate to say that I liked being around him, or that I liked—enjoyed—him.

We will be more effective in finding the love that creates light and gives life everywhere if we accurately identify exactly what “love” and “like” are.

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