Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade September 2001

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Admittedly no one has a corner on love. Love is so universal to all peoples of all cultures and covers all of recorded history. Therefore, though some may attempt to, no one can begin to possess all of the answers for us on love. Love is that special emotion which we experience in a variety of ways and at a variety of times in our life. Love is so basic, yet so mysterious and majestic. We deeply desire and seek love during all ages and aspects of our lives. However, most of us frequently have a difficult time telling someone that we love him or her. It is often said that the least spoken words of our English language are, "I love you." The music of all generations has attempted to accent this most basic aspect of our relationships. All of the fine arts remind us of and focus our attention on this deepest of human needs.

We not only crave love from others, but we recognize our inner need and desire to love others in general, as well as particularly love that very special person we greatly desire and wish to be with. Love can be the extinguisher of harsh feelings, or it can be the glue that keeps people together during the worst of times.

Love is so often sought, yet can become the root of the greatest heartbreaks and heartaches of our lives. So strange, that the very emotion that can open the deepest wellspring of joy and happiness can also produce the deepest hurt and sorrows. It has been the source of great rejoicing and devastating wars. No other emotion brings such varied responses to our lives as love. Forever, whatever our age, whatever the generation or culture, love will always remain our chief experience, eclipsing both feelings of gratification and despair. Love and loving will always find itself an empirical part of every stage of our lives. At every turn, in every situation, every circumstance and in the course of daily living, all of us must continuously make the conscious decision, to what extent our love and loving must play its role. Love is one of those few aspects of our lives that is not only innate capacity, but also requires conscious decision. We may be inspired to love in a given situation. We may be motivated by self-serving goals to love. We might be, encouraged by some type of personal beneficial incentives to love. However, love is never solely automatic, without decision and springing from a completely saturated life of love. No, unfortunately, we are not so equipped! Our humanity all too often gets into our way of always exhibiting a loving nature to all, at all times. Certainly some may accomplish this better than others. To these individuals we often commend and acknowledge our respect of their love and their lives.

Love and loving, then, is something we must decide to do and to be. By our volition we can make the decision to become more loving. I contend then, that a loving person is more loveable. Thus, for such a person, within his or her romantic love life, as we exhibit a loving nature we then become, for that very special person in our life, increasingly loveable. Love is like happiness! It's a choice! We are not happy because of the things we have. Our professional and social positions, in themselves, do not produce happiness. True happiness is a decision of our will and manifested through our attitude. Regardless of circumstance, we can choose to be happy. It's never money, a job, people, things or material possessions that bring happiness. Happiness is within our wellspring of self and we must choose. Love also is like that! We can choose, even, to love the "unlovely".

A sincere loving nature must begin, first of all, in loving ourselves. I don't think we can truly and continually be a loving person without first loving ourselves. The problem most of us have is seated in the sobering fact that we know ourselves so well. The unromantic reality is that we know all of our shortcomings and weaknesses. Add to this, our knowledge of our own history of failures and lack of achieving our goals and it becomes understandable why we find it difficult to love ourselves. We realize that it is unrealistic to think anyone could matriculate through life without setbacks. Nor is it reasonable to believe that anyone should be able to accomplish all of one's chosen goals in life. Nevertheless, we all too often feel inadequate and not loving ourselves, believe we are unworthy of love.

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