Love. Such a strong word, such a strong feeling. “I love you” can brighten up the whole world for a person. “I don’t love you” could destroy someone’s world. It goes out to parents, siblings, friends, lovers… Here’s a question: have people forgotten what love is? It’s like we seem to go around, telling everyone we love them. People who we end up hating, breaking up with, divorcing, etc. But that’s not always the case. There is real love out there. But how do you know if you’ve found it?

Loving someone is more than just calling someone your best friend ever or a magical kiss. Love means that, no matter the other person’s shortcomings, no matter what they aren’t, you love them for who they are. It means that they don’t need to do anything to earn your love, that, just by being themselves, they’ve earned it. It means your feelings for them can never fade. It means romance forever, best friends forever, a powerful sibling bond, a young parent and little kid forever. In love, growing up, old age, changes mean nothing, because you’ll always love them and always be there for them.

If someone truly loves you, they’ll support you no matter what. They’ll show their love. This is what separates temporary love from forever love. Over time love can fade for a number of reasons: if only one person puts in the effort to prove their love, if someone is too afraid to show their feelings, or keeps secrets, etc. Yes, you can continue loving that person from afar, but it is only really love, only true love if you are always there for that person, if you try, and the other person tries as well. Then again, there is unrequited love. That’s the case where, for the other’s happiness, you wouldn’t disturb them. But you would always hold them in your heart.

Love is ultimately, outrageously complicated. And some people may never find it. Some people may find many different loves. Others may only have unrequited love, but, as long as their love is in their life, and they’re happy, that’s all that matters. Whatever it is, love is something that never ends. You can’t just love someone for a short period of time. Then that isn’t love. It was merely a crush, a short romance, an acquaintance, et cetera. If you really love someone, you will always make an effort, always do anything for them. Even if they don’t feel the same. No conditions, no limits.

Read more on this topic in WHAT IS LOVE?: Expanding our capacity to give and receive love»

image: Romantic concept via Shutterstock