From above (left): Carlos Arturo Serrano, George Steven Ong, Prabha Mohan Baliga, Emil Angelo Nacionales; from below (right): John Hebert, Joe Forrest and Adam Benedict Tan
Oscar Wilde once said:
Who, being loved, is poor?
Love rises from deep within the maddening chaos of our minds. It surprises, shocks, nurtures, and intimidates those who aren’t prepared to endure its joys and pains. The world stands divided on many issues but if there is anything that unites it, it is this feeling we call love.
We spoke to a few men from different countries, and asked them how they define love:
Name: John Hebert
Location: Portland, Or. USA
A writer, nature-lover and peace freak, John tells us that real love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. Selfless Love is True Love. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures every circumstance. Love is empowerment of others. The Love of Power versus the Power of Love. It’s the basic writing in our hearts, a way to pass the tests here. I love you this way, love says.
Name: George Steven Ong
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Respect for oneself equals love for oneself. Before you can start truly loving others, it is essential that you show love to yourself. Similar to trying to help others, you can only do that if you are able to help yourself. Loving oneself means you have self-respect; you need to know your boundaries, your wants, your fears, and your priorities. By knowing these things, you can transition to loving others or you end up bringing problems into your relationships. It can get toxic for both your partner and you. Nevertheless, loving oneself does not mean you stagnate; there is always room to grow.
Name: Miguel Apolinar Alvarez
Location: Manila, Philippines
Love to me is general. It’s never absolute but infinite. It’s never singular and it is never plural. It simply is. Though we often fall into the miserable trap of hailing a singular thing or person as the true love of our lives, we often find ourselves realizing that the singular thing we love is actually a collection of other things, such as experience, materials and dreams melded into one. To me, love is a vessel and a witness. We are lonely things going through life and we long for a witness to see us burn and immolate brightly. We want them to collect the ashes when we fade away, which is why we long for passion and intense intimacy. On the flip side, we are also looking for a vessel—an individual, an idea or a goal that could keep us going. Let’s face it, we are reckless when left to ourselves. On our own, we wouldn’t care what would happen to us. Sometimes, our love serves as a steady and true ship, leading us to our safe harbor and keeping us in one piece until it’s time to go.
Name: Adam Benedict Tan
Location: Manila, Philippines
Love to me is the most pure form of humanity that each individual will ever experience. It resides within us and is defined only by us. It is not bound by standards established by a culture or a social group. Love can be divided by love for the individual and love for others. Love respects individual freedom and does not go around defining other people’s meaning of the concept although it may influence them.
Name: Prabha Mohan Baliga
Location: Kerala, India
Love means mutual faith and understanding between two people. It means respecting each other’s freedom and space and allowing the other to function without interference. It also means helping each other do routine tasks to whatever extent possible.
Name: Carlos Arturo Serrano
Location: Bogota, Columbia
I’m getting married next month. What my love for my fiancé inspires in me is bigger than I knew I was capable of feeling. I am moved by his quirks, and his uniqueness, and his sense of humor, and his essential goodness. His heart is so full of goodness that it moves me to want to admire him and respect him and learn from him and protect him. I suppose love could be described in that way.
Name: Emil Angelo Nacionales
Location: Manila, Philippines
The L word to me isn’t something grand. It is a small and simple thing. It’s in that first sip of coffee in the morning, maybe the funny way dew drops stick on a plant’s leaves, or how your dog wiggles his butt and wags his tail when he sees you. I think we should treat it more like something short and simple and uncomplicated; it’ll be easier then to give and to receive. A small bit of it from everyone for everything in this planet will make the world an infinitely better place to live in.
Name: Joe Forrest
Location: United States of America
Love is when you show someone your darkest side and they don’t flinch. They understand your imperfections and love you for them. It’s the feeling in your gut and your heart that you get when you look at them. Love is that electric spark you get when you kiss them. Love is when you’re willing to sacrifice everything to keep someone safe. Love is messy and nothing like the movies. Love is an ugly, beautiful truth which drives you to greater heights. Love is holding your child when they are afraid. Love is looking into the mirror and accepting yourself as the best version of you. Love is holding the hand of someone on the verge of death. Love is when you come home and your dog is super excited that you’ve returned. Love is the smile on the lips of the mother as her child becomes an adult. Love is boundless, stretching farther than the stars. Love is life, because without it you’re not living.
with Adam Benedict Tan and Jaymz Hawkes
Photo: Authors/ Vishu Nair