It’s when we delve into what love really is rather than what we believe it to be that we come to see that not everything we experienced in the past was authentic love.
In my first book titled The Dark Dictionary: A Guide to Help Eradicate Your Darkness, Restore Your Light, and Redefine Your Life I open up about my struggle with self-defeating behaviors, toxic negativity, and the darkness that resulted from these aspects of my life. Within this journey I describe what finally offered me enough light to change–enough motivation to finally let that same light into my life. And in result I was not only able to redefine my life, but better define the aspects of my life that often brought me nothing but pain. Below is a small snippet of one ideal you will find changed as I worked on drastically eradicating myself from the dark I was so accustomed to and worked so hard to change.
Love is hard to define. For some it might be because they’ve never experienced it but still find themselves filled to the brim with emotion when they think about it. These individuals are usually called hopeless romantics and have a definition of love that they refuse to settle for. Their imaginations often run wild while a romance plays out on a TV or movie screen or even a story they’re reading, and as a result, they frequently find themselves lost in vivid daydreams about the day their own love story will begin.
For others, it’s not the lack of imagination that gets them but rather a combination of similar qualities of a hopeless romantic combined with experiences in which they’ve confused love for something completely different―usually this happens time and time again. Combined with the emotional charge of what love should be, as well as what it is to them, they’re often caught in the web of misconceptions of what love really is.
Things like dependency as well as lack of growth outside of the relationship itself suffocates something where love might not have even been present at all. The bad experiences that follow these qualities often lead to feelings of hopelessness rather than anything romantic, leaving the individual’s heart broken over something he or she might have felt very deeply for but was never love.
The very reason we repeatedly find ourselves confusing love for a misconception of it should be reason enough to find a true definition and apply it to our lives. When we do, we set ourselves free of the experiences in which we not only confuse love for something else but also from the experiences themselves that end up causing us a lot of pain.
In his book The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck defines love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” He also attempts to rid of us of the belief that we must become dependent in our relationships by stating, “Dependent people are interested in their own nourishment, but no more; they desire filling, they desire to be happy; they don’t desire to grow, nor are they willing to tolerate the unhappiness, the loneliness and suffering involved in growth.”
It’s when we delve into what love really is rather than what we believe it to be that we come to see that not everything we experienced in the past was authentic love. We learn that love is free from the idea of fulfillment, which states that once we find a partner, we will finally be happy. We learn that love is both mental and spiritual development, that we are two individuals making a consenting choice to come together, and that with real self-love, we have no need to become dependent because we understand not only is dependence not authentic love but that our growth and our happiness are our own responsibility and no one else’s.
It’s easier, then, to not get so caught up in the experiences where we fail to discover what love actually is. Because in each experience we’ve been through, we’ve always had the ability to set ourselves free from our own bias, to closely study what each experience was rather than what we wish it could have been.
 M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled (New York: Touchstone, 1978), 81, 106.