Three stories of love beyond the pink hearts and the teddy bears
Love isn’t easy, love isn’t simple and, most of all, love isn’t the same for all of us. That’s why the interviews of Bozhidar Klouchek, a 11th grader from the “Petar Beron” School of Mathematics in Varna, are so valuable – they give us three different –and interesting perspectives about love from his schoolmates Magdalina Popova, Neda Nedeva and Nikola Kostadinov
Nowadays St. Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular holidays out there. Big pink hearts and little teddy bears have more or less become a staple for that day and by extension, a statement for undeniable love. But what is the measure of true love today? Besides chocolate hearts and red ribbons standing as “evidence” for intimate feelings, how can we measure or at least define love so we have an idea what we’re dealing with?
In truth, we can’t. Love, in reality is different for everyone – one might love their romantic partner more than they love themselves, others love their pets and hobbies, third ones love their friends and family. It’s truly a unique experience and one that has played a fundamental role in our lives, culture and history for as long as mankind has existed.
That is precisely why comparing and understanding different perspectives is so important. Here you can see several viewpoints from people with different beliefs, opinions and feelings about love.
So, let’s begin with the simplest and yet hardest question, what is love? Magdalina Popova, who is at the beginning of a wonderful relationship, explains that love to her is purely trust and acceptance:
“To me love is trust and acceptance. It’s appreciating another being so much that you would want to be with them and you’d want to make them a part of your life. Love makes you crazy. You want to be with them for who they are and you want to tell them everything that’s in your head just because you want share what you’re feeling with them. You make each other better”, she says.
Other answers to the question also described a form of acceptance, intimacy and trust. That, in theory, is the abstract definition of it.
Love, as one might expect, isn’t always true, some people fall in love not with a person, but with the idea of falling in love. In our society love has become so romanticized by the idea of the “perfect” relationship with no downsides and no arguments that people set it as a real standard for their lives. Magdalina thinks this is an alarmingly increasing trend.
“People are obsessed with the idea of looking for “love”. They want to be with the person they love but because they’re not able to, they end up looking for a way to express it somewhere else. If they can’t be with their desired partner they’ll find a way to “be in love”. For some people that’s more important than actually loving somebody.”
Nikola Kostadinov, who has the longest relationship out of the people interviewed, shares a more nuanced viewpoint:
“Depends on from what angle you are looking at the matter, because nowadays for a solid percentage of people love is the need for satisfaction of their thirst for lust, so in this case they are obsessed with being in love. Some are obsessed with being in love because they are in need of someone they can share their heart with and need the feeling that a special someone cares about them and loves them.”
So, as we can see, love may be one of, if not the most, wonderful experiences, but many examples of “fake love” can be found in our world. Of course, that is in no way supposed to imply that love is, at the end of the day, an unachievable goal – of course not, love is achievable and people who genuinely try to find it, do deserve it.
One great example for the importance of putting effort into finding love is the story of Neda Nedeva and Nikola Kostadinov. They live 3000 km apart and still managed to make it work.
“The moment when you throw away your selfishness is the second you fall in love. It is neither a drastic sacrifice, nor a state of which you neglect yourself, it is a chance for you to better yourself and improve. If you find the person who is willing to accompany you on this amazing journey of self-improvement, then you have found everything you will ever need. I consider myself lucky to say that I have found this person and for a little less than a year and a half I can say that I have been walking on this path – sometimes with pride, other times in pain, but always with the support of the person who is dearest to me”, Neda tell us.
To her, one relationship isn’t about what’s “yours” or what’s “mine”, it isn’t just two people fusing into one; it’s an experience where everything “mine” and everything “his” become “ours”. An experience in which two fates intertwine into one and where both people offer the best they can, so they can build the perfect world for two souls, which helps them be comfortable, calm and have a sense of protection, Neda adds.
“People often say “out of sight, out of mind”, but also fail to realize the fickle details of a relationship – it isn’t something physical. Most of the time I spend is away from my boyfriend, which gives me the opportunity to grow spiritually and focus on working on myself, but even in the days when the sky isn’t so blue, I know I am not alone. I know there is someone out there who is thinking of me. That is what gives me the strength to continue fighting any challenge I am faced with”, shares Neda.
“If I had to describe love with one word, it would be trust. The trust to dedicate yourself to someone, to hold your heart out for someone to take in their hands, so you can love them and to let them love you”, she concludes.
Love is the most complex and yet simplest emotion in our world. It has the potential to build and destroy and often – it does both. It’s a fundamental part of not only the individual improvement of a human, but their development into a full-fledged person. What’s important to remember is that love is everywhere – from the embrace of the person you have committed your life to, to the funny text your friend sent you, even in such small things you can find the joy of loving as well as being loved.