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FEBRUARY 2, 2010 9:32AM

Love, Can It Be Learned?

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I'm nearly fifty years old.  Ouch, that is hard to write.  Anyway, you would think all my life experience would start to show itself with a little wisdom but it doesn't.  The truth is I don't know anything.  Mostly, I've got questions.

Once you learn to ride a bike, so they say, you never forget how.  Is the same true for love?  Once you have learned to love, can you ever forget it? 

Can we all love?  Don't we all want love?  Do you need to see it in action to know what love is?  If you've never seen it, can you learn it? 

Can you demand love, make someone love you?  Should you?

If you ask for love, your way, is it an insult?  Is it settling to be content with what someone has to give when it isn't always enough?  Do you withdraw your love?  Can you bring it back?

Can you teach someone how to love you, in a way you recognize as love?  Or do you have to learn to find the love in what they have to give? 

Is there a right way to love and therefore a wrong way?

Does love make  you sick?  Does love make you a better person?  Does that mean that love must be difficult in a character-building way?

Can everyone learn how to love, at any age, at any time?  Does everyone have the capacity to love?

Can love survive without the light of expression because the lover can't or won't reciprocate?

Does love evaporate into the empty air and settle like dust on a life made desolate?

Valentine's Day blows.

© Julia Barr 2010

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Thanks Bonnie. I'll take it under advisement.

Harvey, Hi. Thank you for those inspiring words. You must be a generous man.
I love love, loving, being in love, falling in love. Love is the whole thing and I think it's spontaneous, at least the stuff between men and women or men and men or women and women. Chemical (lust) at first and if it's nurtured and if the circumstances permit it to grow and evolve it can become something very special, sometimes the apex of a life, the very center of it.

I have two best friends, actually one of them is my ex husband. He remarried after falling madly in love. For them it was as if in the other was found a sense of completion and certainty. I don't know if it's a "healthy" love, as they seem to enable the shit out of one another, even while lifting one another up and through. They are one another's foundations.

There are so many loves: for and of children, country, life, nature, love itself, the moon, the stars, one's art, one's vocations, avocations, passions, love goes on and one. It is the core of a life, the energy.

I don't think we learn it so much as we need it. We are not whole if we don't feel some kind of love. A sense of lovelessness is the stuff of depression and loneliness and isolation.

Love is one's connection to life and living.
As I wrote in my post today, Valentine's Day is a day created by greeting card companies to increase their profit margins. It makes everyone feel insignificant- even people who are in relationships feel the pressure to put on a show!

Why do we still buy into this crap?

Relationships aren't about lame, made-up holidays- they are about the two people, who both want to be there.

Good luck!
Monkey- Hi. I'm with you, love is the most important thing and a multifaceted thing. Sometimes also the hardest thing. You are so sensible you're going to give artists a bad name! Thanks for your wise words.

Kimberly-Hallmark has a lot to answer for. Also all of those rom-coms which will be coming out in honor of V-day. I like your choice of word,"lame", totally accurate. Thanks for reading and commenting.
I'm pretty sure Valentine's Day is about chocolate. Love is merely incidental.
So many deeply engaging questions here. Short answer: Love is doing, doing for another person. It is long-term. Everyone has the capacity for it, but some people work hardest at suppressing that possibility. They suffer for it (as do others, as a result).
John, thanks for that. I admire your writing so I consider that a high compliment.

Steve, you might be right about v-day being all about chocolate in which case I will have to reconsider. Chocolate makes everything good, very good.

Pilgrim, interesting what you say about suppressing. I've seen that. Don't know it it's about fear or just not knowing wtf to do. People are complicated creatures.

Thanks for reading and commenting guys.
Oooh, Steve! Anyone who sends me chocolate can be my valentine.

As for the rest, I have no clue. I suspect what happens is that we define love by our own experiences, rather than learning or teaching another criteria.
High Lonesome--
Thanks, I suppose we are all pretty much dependent on the seat of the pants method. What we know is what we do but I think we can learn new ways too. I hope so anyway!
Steve is only partly right. Valentines Day is about chocolate AND flowers. Both of which you can buy for yourself, any day of the week. Lots of thoughtful questions here, none having to do with Valentine's Day.

It would be fun and interesting to break this down into sections for discussion. Here's my pronouncement for today: Love starts with you. If you don't love yourself, only the wrong people --or nobody-- will love you back the right way.
"A woman either loves or man or doesn't (period); a man can never make a woman love him. A woman may be able to make a man love her. Romantic love finds you, never look for it. Other kinds of love, for example, the love of others, is within us; we either have it or we don't." Thoth, Book of Love 1:3-5

Sentimental and beautiful.
Have just bought my first bunch of red tulips of the year. A little bit of color just for me. You're right about love starting with ourselves. I'm now going to love myself by going for a run. Do you think that counts as S&M kind of love?

Anything from the book of Thoth has got to be right. Could you read it out loud please?