Photo of a "Love" sign

How To Love



“You had a lot of crooks trying to steal your heart

Never really had luck, couldn’t never figure out 

How to love…”

- Lil Wayne


With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is in the air, so either hold your breath or deeply inhale. It’s only natural to fear the phenomenon known as love because no matter who you talk to, their experiences are different. It’s too dynamic to define, and too complex to explain, but we all know it’s something we long for. Generation after generation, the concept of love continues to be restructured, and tends to revolve around different things, for different people, in different times. I think the great artist Dwayne Carter had it right back in 2011 when he said we’ve “never really had luck, couldn’t ever figure out how to love.” In the past, love was considered to be about what a woman can do for her man, while in this day in age, love is considered to be about what a man can offer his woman. Millennials have begun to again redefine the parameters of love, but we are still making grave mistakes in identifying what is and is not a notion of that affection. As a novice, the theory of love seems impossible to ever absolutely figure out. What is this “love” really about? Has anyone truly figured out how to love?


I cannot, nor can anyone else, simply tell you what love is, but I can tell you what love is not. 


Love is not about time. While time seems to be the ultimate measure for nearly everything on earth, including the concept of life itself, I’d say love is the only exception. Some believe it takes time in order for one to truly be in love, but they forget just how powerful this emotion is. In an instant, love can overwhelm the mind, body, and soul simply because he laughed, or she smiled. It is true that love is a growing emotion, but it grows at indescribable rates that time cannot always appropriately measure. I’d say love grows life faith, all you need is that of the size of a mustard seed to move mountains. In fact, time is not your friend at all when it comes to love because I can promise you that there will never be enough of it to spend with the one you love the most. Time waits for no one, love is no exception. 


Love is not inconsistent. Although love may seem difficult to understand at times, one thing is for sure, love is never unaware of its existence. Even if you can’t quite describe the feeling, you find comfort in knowing that it is there through the good times and the bad. In all the moments that don’t last forever, there should be no moment in which real love is called to question. Love is not a choice. you cannot choose to love someone one second and not the next. “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health” real love remains. If the love subsides at any moment, the love was never real to begin with because love is resilient. 


Love is not about sacrifice. We’ve begun to confuse the difference between sacrifice and compromise. We tend to associate sacrifice with love because we are obsessed with the idea that love is about what one would give to be with you. Our generation has materialized what accounts as love and revolved it around sacrifice. Love is supposed to be about compromise and tolerance, not about sacrificing parts of ourselves or lives in order to compensate for the inconveniences. Love is not perfect, so there will be instances of disagreement, but we must not offer away or censor parts of ourselves in an attempt at acceptance. We must remember that love is free and should come at no cost to either person. 


Love is not effortless. It takes a lot of patience, forgiveness, and understanding to love. The effort is what separates our words from our intentions. It’s possible to effortlessly fall in love, yet the line is drawn when it comes to maintaining it. Through tough times, I can guarantee that you will have to fight for what you love because the universe tends to ensure that good things never come easy. It will take real effort to assert your love and keep your love. On the other hand, you can express your love in effortless attempts. Romance is effortless, love is not. Do not get the two confused. 


Love is not sex. Sex should be a plus in a relationship, not a priority. This generation in particular has the tendency to oversexualize nearly everything. When it comes to love, the moment sex becomes a necesseecity for a relationship rather than an accessory, the love becomes toxic. Lust begins to impersonate what we see as love, it will drive all intentions, but eventually it will seem as if the “love” never existed. Because it didn’t. I was always taught that “sex is an amazing expression of committed love, not the pathway to it” (Paul Angone). There are so many more nonsexual ways to express your affection that always end up having a deeper meaning. Only having your body to offer diminishes their worth and especially yours. 


One of the most important things to remember is that 

Love is not guaranteed. Not every relationship you experience will have real love, and that goes for friendships, family, and romance. Majority of the relationships one develops throughout their life are temporary, while real love is eternal. And that it okay because if love was that natural by nature, the world would be a very different place. So, don’t go into a relationship looking for love; lose the expectation. Love will find you. The expectation of love seems to be a one-way ticket to heartbreak and disappointment. The reality is that real love is rare and has to come naturally. While it is important, and in fact necessary, to have expectations on how you should be treated, we end up hurting ourselves when we expect everyone to respect us enough to love us accordingly. Not everyone has the capacity. 

The reason love is unable to be defined, is because it is uniquely designed.


Further in his song “How to Love” Lil Wayne can be quoted saying,

“You had a lot of dreams that transformed to visions. The fact that you saw the world affected all your decisions.”


Our experiences make us who we are. The sad reality is most of us do not know how to love because we have never experienced real love ourselves. Love may seem impossible to ever absolutely understand, but maybe that is the point. It is not meant to be understood. The moment you begin to try to understand how love works, the rules change. It’s said that we translate the affections we lacked as children into what we interpret as love, or our “love languages.” For some that may be something as simple as conversation, for others that may be touch or constant affirmation. This is just yet another concept that goes into defining what love is about for an individual. Love languages vary, it’s about what speaks to you at that volume. So maybe what’s not love to one is considered love to another. 


That’s what makes love so complicated. Who has the right to tell you, you’re doing things the wrong way? That explains why we never know what to do. One thing is for sure, love begins at home. I don’t mean this in the sense that the trends of love begin with your family. While that is true, real love is discovered when you learn to love yourself. To love selfishly. Self-love is the most important love of all. If we begin to teach self-love before we instill this desire for affection from others in the minds of the growing youth, there will be a completely different outlook on love itself. Too often we search for peace and happiness in others when genuine peace and genuine happiness can only be found within. The first step to learning how to love others, is to learn how to love yourself first. You’ve heard the phrase “If you stand for nothing, you will far for anything.” The same goes for love. We have to stand up for what we deserve or society will take a clean advantage over us. Build the confidence to establish not only what you want, but what you deserve, and that will make all the difference.