brown wooden love is lover decor

Authentic Love; Elixir to a Meaningful Life

Since the beginning of Time there was Love; a powerful, primeval and magnanimous force that shaped contesting energies into synthesis, symbiosis, and flow. These brought a tumultuous planet into sustainable existence.

Over billions of years, love remains the quintessential essence that sustains all life. Through the ages we still pay homage to love, immortalising it through creative expression in soulful ballads, great works of art, evocative literature and lofty architecture.

However, as with all things in the profane world, love has become commercialised and reduced to a commodity to drive retail sales. It is spread across glossy magazines, wrapped in tinsel, festooned with heart-shaped balloons, embellished in cards with trendy love memes and complemented with red roses. Then it is packaged, sold, and discarded. And so, in 2024, Eros, Aphrodite, Cupid, Valentine’s Day and the Leap Year, will enjoy a fleeting celebration on social media and thereafter be deposed by the next memory-making event.

Love that endures.

The love that endures is the love that defies simplistic and commodified definition. It is the deep caring, somewhat irrational, yet authentic love; the love not easily explained. This is the crazy, heady love that made kings give up their thrones, lovers elope and some even sacrifice their lives. This love is felt and expressed through vulnerability, trust, compassion and caring. And this love the world needs more of.

To love and be loved is a deep sentient need. Humans, animals and plants thrive when shown love. Yet, today, despite there being so much love in the air, many human communities remain fragmented, disconnected and steeped in hatred. It seems that authentic love has eluded us because the modern world has reified technology, domination, power and control. And since we’re less inclined to feel, to sense and to empathise, we have lost the ability to receive and express authentic love.

Authentic love is more

Authentic love is much more than the sexualised, commodified and passionate romps that we see in romantic genres. It doesn’t detract from its romantic sweetness, but it also elevates the simple humanist belief in Ubuntu; I am because you are. It affirms another human’s humanness. Humans, when affirmed and imbued with giving and receiving, become constellations to each other and like the stars, illuminate each other’s lives to provide warmth and support like the sun has done for billions of years.

So, bringing authentic love back into our lives means finding the primacy of connection within ourselves and with each other. It requires us to become more human, to peel off the many socially constructed layers and to become vulnerable again. That is how we become authentic, how we become in touch with our feelings and how we learn to connect with others again.

Love is less think and more feel. Feeling a loved one’s heartbeat, extending a gentle caress, sharing an endearing smile, or showing emotional empathy, is more valuable than a heart wrapped in tinsel.

Love validates our lives because through connection we become active participants to change the world we’re living in. Apple’s Steve Jobs in his dying moments wrote: “Being the richest man in a cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” Authentic love gives us the energy to make the world a better place and could be the elixir to the meaningful life we’ve been yearning for.

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Rudi Kimmie (PhD) is a human and organisational development specialist. He writes in his personal capacity.

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