"Love is blind."
I wholeheartedly disagree.
Love is clarity. It sees everything clearly; the good, the bad and the ugly. And it doesn't judge. Love is a powerful force that infuses our life with light and warmth.
So why do people say that "Love is blind", with a little wink or shrug?
The wrong definition.
Do you remember falling in love when you were a teenager? If you were anything like me, you were probably embarrasingly devoted to the object of your desire. A micro-second of eye contact? Your cheeks would fire up in a hot red blush. Getting a passing "Hi" would make your day. You would spend most of your waking hours imagining fairy tale scenarios of your crush professing their love to you. Is that an accurate description of teenage you in love?
Sorry, but that was not love. It was a cocktail of healthy, happy, horny teenage hormones. They really did make you blind. An overdose of dopamine and oxytocin can make you feel all fuzzy inside, exactly like how the Hugh Grant movies and Mariah Carey songs described it. So you called it love. And your brain, which created a lot of its vocabulary in those formative years, might still label that feeling as love. But in fact, those hormones that put you on cloud nine are triggered by hopes and expectations - not by reality.
So that feeling has a different name. Attachment.
Then what is Love?
Love is something else. Words have a hard time defining it properly, so let me try a metaphor.
Imagine that love is like sunshine, if your soul is like the sun. It's an intense, warm energy.
I like this metaphor because, like sunlight, you can love generously without ever having to spread your love thin. Love is not a limited resource, like a cake to be cut in pieces, but a limitless light that warms everything it touches.
To love someone means bathing them in the light of your sunshine. In that light, you see and accept them as they are; the good, the bad and the ugly. And because love doesn't judge, it helps the loved one to become their best self. You might automatically think about romantic love, but the same is true for friendships and family love. Self-love is the same love, directed at yourself. It's the practice of seeing and accepting yourself fully without ifs and buts.
For some people, it is scary to love. I understand. But there's no risk in shining warmly and brightly, except for maybe a temporary ego bruise. Don't let that hold you back. You're meant to shine. Meant to love.
Love without attachment.
Attachment and love get confused because attachment can lead to love.
Attachment makes you want to spend time with someone. It gives you time to get to know them and start caring about them enough to love them. But you might also find that, when the hormones disappear, there's no love shining between you. I've been there a few times myself, with friends and boyfriends. In those cases, let go.
"The root of suffering is attachment" - The Buddha
Interestingly, neuroscience has proven that the Buddha was right (Robert Wright, Why Buddhism is True). Attaching yourself to situations or expectations distracts you from appreciating life as it is, even if it's not completely living up to your ideal, expected scenario. In other words: Attachment makes you blind.
Love without attachment is the kind of love I want. For me, for you. For everyone. When you love without attachment or expectations, you give others the freedom to walk their own paths, in the warmth of your sunshine.
Who do you love? Can you imagine letting go of your attachment to them and simply love them as they are?
Who loves you? Your friends, family, partner, kids, pets are already shining their light on you. Nature itself loves you, too. Can you feel it?
Love is all around you. It sees all of you, your good, bad and ugly, and sees no reason not to envelop you in its warm, bright light. You deserve love.