On my way to work on a dull and cloudy morning, I boarded a commercial vehicle as usual, sat quietly and waited while the driver was navigating his way to our destination.
As we went on, it became obvious that there was an unusual traffic that morning, so all passengers got into different things to distract themselves from the frustration of Lagos traffic. Less than twenty minutes into the ride, we began discussing issues as they were mentioned on the radio news. Topic after topic was trashed out until we arrived at the biggest one: the 45 Million Naira “ASSURANCE” given to Chioma by her boyfriend Davido. The “ASSURANCE” was discussed endlessly and passionately until I got to my place of work and surprisingly, It was the matter on ground at the office as well. The most consistent argument was that Davido has True love for Chioma, his Love for her is greater than that of his other baby mamas and Chioma is a lucky girl. This got me asking the question; What do we understand love/true love to be?
Dictionary.com defines love as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person” or “a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection as for a parent, child or friend”. “The definition of Love is a feeling of deep affection, passion or strong liking for a person or thing” (yourdictionary.com). Then I am pushed to ask, is love a feeling? How can we differentiate between this feeling and other similar feelings like lust and limerence? These questions might need a good philosopher to decipher and give a credible answer, but one thing I am sure of is this: LOVE IS NOT A FEELING. Feelings are always temporary, they come and go. Yourdictionary.com defines true love as “a strong and lasting affection between spouses or lovers who are in a happy, passionate and fulfilling relationship”. The key word I would like to take out of this definition is “lasting” which coincides with the popular saying that “true love never dies”.
But why then do we differentiate between love and true love?
If something is not true then it would obviously be false. So if some love is not true love, then is it still worthy to be called love? Love and true love seems to me to be the same thing because if we negate the truth, the argument becomes false or invalid. So if love is not true, then it is not love.
According to various religions literatures it could be gathered that Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails, real love does not decay, Love is purity, Love does not corrupt, Love is true sacrifice.
From the citations above, it should not come as a surprise that love is mostly described with an action or a noun that depicts a group of actions. This is because the word LOVE IS A PRODUCT OF ONE’S ACTION TOWARDS ANOTHER. Love can be felt but it is not a feeling, love can be expressed but it is not an action. Love, contrary to most definitions, cannot be expressed without a conscious and deliberate effort. It is a choice we choose or have chosen to make. It involves a lot of sacrifices to keep it going.
If I love someone, then I might want to spend sometime, help and pamper the individual. I would give gifts and fight for that individual when required. The above actions could make the individual feel loved; that is, the individual could feel/understand that I love him or her. What he/she feels is not love but an understanding that my actions (if born out of a pure intention) could be a way to show my love towards him/her. Love cannot be a feeling because feelings fade away with time. Even in marital relationships, the feelings of both partners flow in a pattern similar to that of a pure sine wave, yet, for successful marriages, the love remains steadfast irrespective of the state of the feelings of both partners.
A typical example which I gave to my friend is this: if your feelings for your wife were to be at an all-time low, and both of you were having some misunderstandings, would you allow a stranger to beat her up while you walk past her on the street? His response was in the negative. So I quickly responded by adding that the feelings could be low because of reduced attraction, emotions or affection but the love remains unshaken. So when we mention feelings, we could be referring to lust, limerence, affection, attraction or some emotions, but love is on a level higher and more stable than these.
Since love is neither a feeling nor an action, it could not be said to be instantaneous. Therefore, the existence of love would be difficult to prove except when evaluated over a prolonged duration (love is patient and never decays), the intention is pure and not selfish (love is not self-seeking and does not dishonour others), and the actions must be carried out with conscious effort (love is a decision). For one to really be able to prove his/her love, a considerable amount of time must be allowed. Time considerable enough for feelings to fade away and crawl its way back over different cycles and his/her actions/reactions observed during that period. Mind you that lust and limerence can lead one to take actions which should portray love, however, the motive for which these actions are being taken discredits them from being born out of love. Just because we are ready to go some extra miles for an individual out of excitement does not mean we love them; we are only exited and acting out our excitement. If we can go that same extra mile when we are down from the excitement, being conscious but not minding the difficulties involved and expecting nothing in return, then we could begin to associate such actions with love.
As for Davido’s “ASSURANCE” to Chioma, we cannot base our judgement on an instantaneous action, so it can be said to be too early to say if he really loves Chioma. However, one thing is for sure: Davido’s emotions and/or attraction to Chioma goes deeper that what he had for his previous baby mamas. But there is no assurance that she could not end up like them if she does not seat up and get Davido’s to settle down with her in marriage.
Chukwudalu writes from Lagos.
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