What is Love (Baby Don’t Hurt Me)?

By, April Kirkwood

Ask 50 people what real love is and you’ll get 50 different answers.


Lovers in the heat of new passion will label it as constant longing and craving. Couples with years invested describe love as companionship and history. But for many, love seems to be more like the unattainable butterfly never quite landing filling them only with disappointments, heartaches, and pain. Nonetheless, I am a believer in love. I know it’s possible to have a satisfying relationship and enjoy a lifetime of it. We just need to better understand what love is and what it is not. In short, genuine love is not based on the emotions we have all come to identify it by. Feelings of jealously, desire, possession, control, fear of loss and ownership are only masks parading like the authentic thing keeping us separated from experiencing genuine love.

We cannot possess what we do not understand any more than we can put a bagel in the toaster expecting to brown it without plugging the cord into the outlet. It is impossible. The love we want and deserve is eternal, independent of reaction, and unattached to results. This love is NOT conditional, outer dependent upon approval, or based on the capacity to fulfill our needs.


Someone can say, “I have a burning desire for someone I cannot have and can’t shake it.” This kind of emotion is based on an ideal of their love interest to complete them and make them whole. Why? Because the cold fact is as humans, there is something in us that feels incomplete, not good enough, falling short in some way. This lack searches to fulfill itself misrepresented as desire through the eyes of another who has what we think we need.  For example, I loved Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons as a child because I wanted to win the approval of a family who gave so much to me.

My conscious self-projected loved for him because I admired what he represented to me even though I didn’t truly love him, per se. My self-worth was based on outer emotions and salvation found in the wrong place.  Of course, this is crazy as each of us is born perfect just as we are.

Real love is not based on feelings of dependency, idolization, sentimentality, craving or passion. Rather, real love starts out with a whole awareness of yourself as well as the other person. Tenderness and affection then grow from authentic caring. Like children playing at love, we are immaturely attracted to physical senses of sight, smell, hearing, sound, and touch. Biology tells us this chemical cocktail of sensual delight fades between 24-36 months and then, and only then, can we begin to cast our sight beyond the illusion better able to discern the strengths and weaknesses in each of us. Add to that demographics, upbringing, and societal values and it becomes easy to understand why we don’t give real love a chance to come into our lives.

We are like frantic kids chasing imaginary Pokémon Go characters expecting something magical to happen when we catch them. It’s cool for about a minute, then they disappear and we continue to hunt more.  Most of us are sadly hunting for an illusion that doesn’t exist. This kind of fake affection is like putting a mask on someone expecting them to be our God and save us. Shame on us. Who can fulfill you?  No one; only yourself. Know that truth and your beloved will show up. They’ve been waiting so long.