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Wed, 17 Apr 2013
(From my article in the Mosman Villager Magazine - May 2013)

The English language is impoverished when it comes to the word love. I love my wife, I love my cd collection, and I love a warm croissant for breakfast. Hopefully I mean different things though I am using the same word.

Love is a complicated mixture of feelings and thoughts. It often involves conditions. I love my wife, perhaps as long as she behaves in particular ways. I love my job, as long as I get a pay rise every year. Love can involve envy - I love my next door neighbour's house which is bigger than mine. Love can give a life meaning - since meeting you I have a purpose in life.
So love is often inextricably bound up in me wanting something and then getting it. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that, as long as we realise we are giving our love with conditions, and we aim to be aware of what those conditions are and communicate them to the person we feel love for. That way the person doesn't get any nasty surprises further down the track.

A broader way of thinking about love that I've been playing with recently is that love is being open to others. It's being open in a way that I am touched by another's circumstances and I then communicate with the person in a way that let's them know I have been affected by them. For example, my friend tells me he is unhappy with his job. To say to him he'll get over it and change the subject is not love. To give my friend my attention, to allow the emotion behind his words to touch me and for me to say "You sound sad, what's happening?" is love.

Play with this yourself - to be open enough to others to be emotionally touched by their presence and then to show them you care.