My friend Barry writes about the difference between altruistic and egocentric love - what we call love and love itself. He does it with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer, which is a good thing. He has far more courage than I. But as much as he's likely to piss people off, he's not wrong.
Here's the thing, in saying that what we think is love really isn't (usually it's just a self-centered addiction to feelings of pleasure brought about by the presence of another person) tends to further rarefy something that is already mistaken as a scarce commodity. It neglects the fact that love is easy. It is the easiest thing in the world, so easy that we overlook it and don't even notice it most of the time. Getting over those addictions, attachments, and selfishness, that is hard, but love isn't.
It's all over movies, television, music, books, classical literature, magazines - this fallacy that love is rare, or eternal, or that it can solve everything and make us happy. There is always the concerned best friend who asks if the hero/heroine if he/she is in love. "Well, I don't know. I think so." Or "I love him/her, but I'm not in love with him/her." Or the lovelorn fool asks, with teary eyes "Don't you love me?" I'll admit to watching and reading such lovestories and I'll probably enjoy many more in my lifetime, but that doesn't mean I get it. Sometimes I just want to stand up and shout that love is not the issue. They're not really even talking about love at all, no matter how many times the word is repeated.
Love is easy. Of course I love you. I love every person I've ever met and all of those out there I'll never get to know, even the ones I really don't like very much. Yes, even the serial killers. I love people I don't want to be with and people who don't want to be with me. Sometimes I even get attached to them, addicted, and I let selfishness sway my actions and my words, but I don't ever confuse that for love. I don't desire someone because I love them, or vice versa. Love doesn't need a reason at all. It just is.
People don't understand how I can say that, let alone how I can feel it. I don't understand how they can not. Others feel that that somehow cheapens love, makes it less powerful. Diamonds would be no less beautiful if they were as common as dirt. Of course, we wouldn't notice them or value them. Which is exactly what we do with love. We ignore it, forget about it, cover it over with other things that make us feel all tingly and electric before they make us hurt. That's not love.
Love is so damn easy because it never makes us hurt.