with all your soul,
and with all your mind."
The Greeks knew what was up when attempting to define Love. They knew that the word we may use to express our adoration for others, for ourselves, or for a God, can not be shared with an admiration for things like a certain object or hobby. I doubt that when we say we love someone, it is the same love that we have for our favorite food. Although, there are some ice creams that I would trade for certain people. (Just kidding, I would never put myself in a position where I would have to choose between the two.)
I do not want to believe that love is the act of self-sacrifice. I've done that before and got results that we're not sexy. He says it isn't too. Rather, He says that Love is loving another person as yourself. A pretty tricky balance, I do have to say. But it is the only balance vital to a more perfect Love. Sitting on one end of the balance more than another, gives what I believe a less, whole person.
On one end, in order for me to extend myself, to share myself, to love another human being, I have to be whole. I need to be able to answer the questions, why would anyone love me, by myself before I can expect anyone else to answer that exact question. I must represent a love that is honest, within. And if I can't do that, and I wasn't able to for awhile, then I fill this part of me with a void, a 'love' that is half-hearted and unfulfilling. As great as I would want to belong to people, I must be able to sit with myself and have that same joy without them. Lately, I've had the time to sit and I fidget a hell of a lot. Yet, the outcome of this uncomfortability is strengthening. I'm falling in love with me all over again, and it's pretty fun.
On the other end, I also believe that the process of loving another person is as empowering, challenging, and self-gratifying as with yourself. Whether intimately in a relationship, with your family, with the stranger on the street, we contribute to one another in a way that can be as soul-fullfilling. It's like a muscle fiber in parallel (yes, I'm bringing it with Physiology in this). Muscle, in series, generate the same amount of force when just side by side. Developing a force independent to one another. The end result is as if there was just one giant sarcomere, like a chain. No difference in force capability. But when a sarcomere is in parallel, we are able to generate a greater force together than just one. Life is a bitch. We need the added support, the extra love, the extension of ourselves from one another from time to time, to become a greater "force" than what we are on our own. I know this to be true because I would not be here had it not been the summation of other people's love for me. I would like to think that it is the same for them, for those that I was able to share my love and compassion as well.
The best part of all of this, the beauty behind what makes love Love is that this can all occur simultaneously. Love is dynamic and can not be compartmentalized. I think it is in this push and pull in our lives that we can create a more a complete image of ourselves. Love is in its own, His image. He is Love. It says so, on my ring. It must be true. And if that is the goal, to love Him, ourselves, and others synchronously - to make it just one big ass dance together in this party called life. Then, I believe everything else follows :) He said so himself.
"This is the greatest and the first commandment.The second is like it:You shall love your neighbor as yourself. "