For a while, something preoccupied me. Love. When had we failed in love, when had we succeeded? Why did love feel so great, why did love scare? Why are we afraight to love? Why had love created problems? Where was <the> love?
I thought about the many stereotypes we internalize over years as a child, teen an adult. We think there is only one real type of love, the one we see in Hollywood, the one in which couples kiss, the one were couples hold hands. Yet, they were symbols for a certain type of love but these symbols might hold us back from realizing love; holding onto an extreme version of idealized romanticizing.
Love transcends and passes through a series of relationships in which people bond. Bonding as a connection, a form of love, outside of a stereotyped version of only one type of love and the symbols we associate to loving and being loved. As a result, love scares. In movies or social media; love in its “enactment” is sexualized, perceived as (too) unprofessional, a symbol for infidelity, something bad that must be kept secret, even punishable within the LGBTQ community.
But love is not wrong, threatening or bad. It is a feeling. A beautiful feeling. There are only interpretations of love or loving (a neutral emotion) in which, for example, specific enactments are portrayed as a sequence of the feeling of love. Yet, love is not a box. Love is not enactment. Love is not predescribed behavior. Love is merely a feeling. A feeling that sets free, creates warmth, closeness, forms and maintains connection.
Yet we tend to bend so much against this feeling, because love so often seems to be one particular “thing” associated or equated to stereotypes and how to be and not to. How to love and not to. Who to love and who not to. As a result we give little space to love. We reduce the possibility to love, to be loved, for love to surface, to be lived. We may decline and forbid one of the feelings most precious, not only to others, bust most of all ourselves. A feeling worth so living for.
Why would this matter for sustainability?
We talk, we laugh, we cry, we challange, we grow together, we might start to love. We realize its love. We change. We feel bad. We stop. We end relationships. Yet what brings most joy, brings most saddness. We begin isolating, maybe hating, we might consume too much, drink too much, move away. We are sad. Not because of love, but the perceived consequences loving holds, although there are none to loving.
I can love you and you can love me in any way you want to, we want to, within the boundaries of the enactment we set to it or open up. Love enables. Love does never restrict.
[Cover picture by @Juni.ka on Instagram]