Learning How to Love

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Love is weird. I think when a lot of people fall in love, they’re falling in love with themselves. I think they’re falling in love with an idea or a vision of something they had in mind. I’ve definitely done it. Whoops, I almost just drank my candle. I turned the lights off (it’s two in the morning and I may or may not have had a few puffs of the old reefer, and I picked up my eucalyptus candle and just about took a swig.)

It’s the next day now. Technically it’s the same day, actually. Whatever. I didn’t drink the candle. Everything is cool. Where was I? Ah, yes. Love. What a fickle little fella love is. The subject was on my mind last night and I was thinking about what it means to love somebody.

I thought about all of the times I’ve been in “love” and I realized how different those emotions and relationships were.

When I was in my late teens I fell in love, or at least I thought I did. Looking back, I realize I wasn’t as much in love with somebody else as I was in love with being loved. It sounds pretty shitty when I type it out like that, but I think we’ve all been there; and when you’re young it’s hard to know the difference. When you’re old, it’s hard to know the difference.

Most of us probably don’t know the difference, which is what makes love so interesting. Another time I fell in love, I was in love with the idea of what I thought that person could become rather than who they really were. It was selfish love yet again. I thought I could fix her in the ways she was broken and out of the hardened soil would bloom the beautiful flower I had painted in my mind. Obviously, it didn’t work out.

I’ve since been able to fall in love with someone in the most genuine sense, and I suppose I could say she’s the only girl I’ve ever truly loved. I’ve had to let my hopes of romance between us go for reasons I won’t get into, but I’m forever grateful to understand what it means to genuinely love a person. It has helped me learn how to love more properly in all areas of my life. I’m learning how to love my passions, my friends and family, and myself.

Romantic love is challenging because it can be so powerful, and when we’re “in love” it can be hard to take a step back and think about it rationally. I think the best type of love is a layered love, full of passion and attraction, but also a bonded love that you would have for a friend or a family member.

Learning how to love a friend is also an interesting challenge, particularly as a man. It takes a lot of growth for a man to be able to tell another man “I love you brother.” Baked into our primal instinct and our culture is this guard of hardness we tend to put up for various reasons. A huge part of becoming a man is learning how to harness that competitive and primal masculinity while learning how to love on top of it.

You can tell when you meet a man who never learned how to love. He’s got a sense of bitterness about him and is always trying to prove his masculine prowess, usually in an overtly obvious manner to the point where it’s uncomfortable. There’s usually a significant sense of inferiority that is overcompensated for and a constant effort to try and prove oneself. Don’t be that guy. Learn how to love.

Jason Brendel
Jason Brendel

Jason Brendel is an author, poet, and comedian from Northern California. Navigate the buttons below to follow him on social media, make a donation, or purchase his collection of laugh-out-loud poetry on Amazon.

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