Defining Love

Photo by David Post

Photo by David Post

A couple days ago I asked people I love dearly to help me define love. I asked my family, old friends, and new friends. What came next was an inspiring, tearful and often hilarious conversation about a topic you don’t read about on your facebook feed: What it means to Love.

A wise man once told me that if you believe hateful words have the power to hurt; you must believe that loving words have the power to heal. Let’s start a nationwide conversation about love. Let’s bring acts and words of love to the center stage. Add your definition of love in the comments section! Love goes viral!

My father in law referenced the Kate and Anna McGarrigle song Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces of Life in our conversations and I've basically had it on repeat while sorting through the definitions this morning - I highly recommend it.

I hope this makes your day like it made mine. Happy Valentine's Day and enjoy!


Love is to me, wanting to wrap your soul around someone or something so much because it’s this feeling of belonging and warmth. Love is meant to be. 

Megan (Artist)


Love is revealed through consideration of its absence.  Without love, motivation would exist, but its power and sustainability would be blunted.  Joy would revert to contentment, and grief to lassitude.  Love is an amplifier.

Ben (Doctor)


Love is staring at your newborn, with your husband, who is your best friend, holding you. 

Love is helping a dear friend face a life threatening illness together. 

Love is trying to paint the feelings you have for a place that gives you comfort. 

Love is my dear husband who is so wise and kind. 

Love is my girls and the interesting men and children they have brought to enrich my life. 

Linda (Artist)


Love is everything! It is kindness and patience, acceptance and appreciation. When we come from love, everything is possible and the world can be its best self.

Sasha (Teacher)


Laundry. Lots of laundry. 

Love is hospital waiting rooms. 

Love is feeling what they feel.

Love is four beautiful brown eyes.

Love is sitting in comfortable silence in a nursing home. 

Love is the opposite of never having to say you’re sorry.

And that’s a good thing. 

Peter (Actor, Writer)


Love is not hating someone.

Sebastian (1st Grader)

Sebastian (1st Grader)

Sebastian (1st Grader)


For me it was best articulated by the writer Bob Gott in his book Love Does. “That's what love does - it pursues blindly, unflinchingly, and without end. When you go after something you love, you'll do anything it takes to get it, even if it costs everything."

Will (Restaurateur)


Love is where we came from, where our truest self exists, and our final destination.  It is the cherry trees my family planted on Mother's Day, mom's laughter on the phone when she hears our voices, a feverish five year-old's hands seeking comfort under my sweater.  It is heart-pounding, riding shotgun through the snowy night with my teen.  It is work, filling waterers for rabbits, chickens, sheep, not to mention filling bellies.  It is communion:  our eyes open and seeing deeply.  

Anne Marie (Teacher, Farmer, Community Builder)


Love is unconditional and forever! 

Caroline (My Mom)


Love is well accounted for us in First Corinthians 13:4-7, and it is in the smile of my wife’s cheeks and it is in my two sons' guttural laughter and bedtime-goodnight kisses against their skin, and it is in the feeling of the light of the sun on my face, and it is in the word yes, and it is in the connections between you and me and all of us. I believe that if we are made in God’s image, and if God is love, all we need to do is truly look deeply and love is there.

 Matt (Actor)


To love is to live beyond yourself, to open your heart to the world and those around you. The strength of love brings forth both complete happiness and sadness. Love is the common ground where we are all at our highest selves. To live with love is to live in total peace.  

Michael (Entrepreneur)


Love is hugging and family humor. And lots of kissies. And cuddles.

Jasper (1st Grader)


Love is an act of will, deciding that after the initial infatuation you’ll do whatever is necessary to make the relationship survive.

Love is being way too co-dependent, and being good with that.

Love is doing the hard work of listening, compromising, and accepting.

But love is also easy when you are lucky enough to find the most wonderful woman in the world.

Love of life is never giving up trying to heal the world and always being curious.

Mark (City Planner)


Love is basically Maverick from Top Gun.  Dangerous and foolish, courageous, loyal, tragic and triumphant.  And always after the honeypot.  What I mean to say is love is basically Winnie the Pooh.

Ryan (Attorney)


Love is waking each morning with two kids snuggled up as close as can be, two cats on my pillows and a loving husband by my side.

Natasha (Educator)


From this exercise I learned a lot. Maybe first and foremost, I realized that I need to spend waaay more time with these people. They are amazing and I work too much.

I’d love to hear your definition too! If you feel inspired, define love in the comments section!

It isn’t easy to publicly discuss or acknowledge love. It takes courage. So thanks to everyone who put it out there.  Oh yes, I almost forgot. Here’s my definition:

“Love is the unwavering belief in the good and essentialness of the recipient.”

Rick Mast9 Comments