ImWaiting recently spent two days at a local high school. On our exit survey we have a place for questions. Students can ask anonymous questions and we either answer it right there or later on social media.
We received the question we get at practically every place we speak. “When and how do you know it’s love?”
Teens, we hope you’re reading this. Parents, we hope you show this to your teens.
The word love gets thrown around a lot. We love a lot of things, TV shows, movies, music….ice cream…..mmmm, okay sorry, getting back to the main point.
We sometimes confuse love with lust. It’s easy to do, both are strong emotions. Almost all of us in our lives have seen that person that sets our heart racing, we stutter when they’re around, it’s hard for us to think. That is a strong emotion but let’s look at the definitions of both.
Love: Warm attachment; Unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the good of another
Lust: A strong feeling of sexual desire; a strong desire for something.
Do you notice the differences in the definitions? Love is being concerned for somebody else. Their well-being is important. Lust is just a strong feeling.There is a huge amount of scientific research regarding what happens to the human body when we fall in love. They talk about dopamine, neurotransmitters, etc. It’s very interesting. Look it up if you get a chance. We’re going to keep it simple.
These are questions you need to ask yourself to know if you love this person, or if they are unbelievably attractive and really it’s just lust and visa versa on how they feel about you.
- How much do you know about this person? Do you know their family and friends?
- Is there mutual respect?
- Do you trust this person?
- Are you able to express yourself without feeling judged or threatened?
- Do you like who this person is? Do you like how they treat others?
- Is passion the only thing you have in common?
- If this person was disfigured in some way in the future would you still desire to be with them?
- Do you have common life goals? Ambitions?
- Do you have similar morals?
- Are you allowed to have your own identity and thoughts?
True love really boils down to unselfishness. Love is others focused, lust is self-focused. Love is being concerned about how they feel vs. how they make you feel.
Also, you’ll know somebody loves you when they put you before their wants. Are your goals, dreams, hopes important to them and do they want to help you achieve those? Sacrificing their wants for your future?
Love grows and deepens over a long period of time when you share the ups, downs, and in-betweens of life together. Lust…well, it just kind of fades out. It looked good for the moment but after time it just kind of made you feel…meh.