My Kind of Love

 I dedicate this column to my mother who has always taught me to do all things with love.

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If I was to survey hundreds of people worldwide as to what love actually means to them, I would gather a variety of responses. However, if one was to ask me that very same question, my response would be: Love is selfless, vulnerable, and extremely sensitive. The reasoning behind my thinking is solely based on my upbringing and my understanding of family as a unit.

My mother is the sweetest, kindest woman I have ever known, yet her relationship with herself has always lacked prioritizing her own needs. Till this day, she will do whatever it takes to make every family member feel loved and supported. I have always adored that about her; however, as a child I always worried for her. Just for once I wanted her to do something–anything that would satisfy her desires without anybody coming first, but that way of thinking diminished within me as I grew older and finally understood that my dear mother held a deep understanding of true love.

Now, I must add that I am no professional in the field of love because I believe that we all love and think differently; nevertheless, I believe that when we are in love with another being we often lack putting ourselves first. This is mainly due to the fact that when we experience our loved ones in a state of euphoria, we might feel complete satisfaction. In addition to, we feel needed which enhances our self-image, and reinforces our sense of wellbeing.

When I was a young girl, I was fascinated with relationships and love. I remember my first “love,” he was sixteen years of age while I was only seven. He was an American boy who was visiting Ukraine for the summer, he had the brightest smile which stole my heart forever, or so I believed at such a foolish age. On his birthday, I gave him a gift to express my feelings for him, that very same gift was given to me by my grandparents–a snickers chocolate bar. Trust me, in those days American candy did not come easy to me, but I gave it to him anyways because his smile meant more to me than any candy.

After I gave him my only candy that I wanted so badly, he took it, smiled and walked away. However, I was not hurt in any way, instead I was proud that I had enough courage to give and not expect anything in return. You see, to love is to be courageous; it is not necessarily to receive, but to give and to express without any expectations that I feel this for you and I believe that you should know.

Vulnerability is another term I have chosen to describe my way of expressing love for another person. Living in the society that we are currently in, we are often told what to do, say, and think. It is extremely difficult to hold your own when the outside noise tends to be louder than our own thoughts, but for me, I have always tried to follow my heart no matter the circumstances. I have made plenty of mistakes or as I like to call them “challenges” because I stand by them without any regret. I consider vulnerability as one of the most essential components to love because it allows us to be who we are; therefore, we are desired for nothing less than for our true selves.

We might never lose the desire to impress others; however, once we finally learn about our own true nature, what others think about us begins to feel irrelevant. If we focus on loving others for the exact person they grew up to be, we begin to seek individuals who accept us under the same terms. I have learned that the older I get, the less I seem to care about what others think of me. As long as I stay true to myself and my loved ones, all of the outside noise can be filtered out with the sound of music.

Last but not least on my list is the sensitivity factor. Sensitivity varies and is looked at differently across cultures. For example, in my culture being too sensitive might be looked at as a weakness and not strength. When I would get into physical fights with boys at school, which happened pretty often I must say, I would get praised in Ukraine; however, once I moved to the states, I would get detention for knocking out a bully. In no way am I saying who is right or wrong here, still the point that I am trying to make is that sensitivity means different things to different people.

In my point of view, sensitivity is about feeling an emotion and understanding it for what it is. When we meet new people we often test them, and at the first sight of weakness, we toss them away like an old pair of shoes. We are hard on others because we may still carry around all of the hurt that somebody before them caused us, yet the truth is they are not those same people that once hurt us, so they do not deserve to be treated like them, and vice versa. If you have been hurt in the past, instead of walking around bitter and broken, focus on the people who love you and not those who have caused you pain. Sensitivity does not only refer to what you might feel, but also how you make others feel, because being sensitive to others needs might satisfy some of your own.

Lastly, love cannot be defined by three different terms, I know that. Love is so magical that there are simply no words strong enough to do it any justice. Selflessness, vulnerability, and sensitivity are just my shot at trying to define something so undefinable. The point is, one can always break our hearts, but they should never be given the power to break our love.

Sincerely,
Svieta​

Author: Svieta Ishchenko

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