Grow in Love - by Alfiya Yousuf

As a young teen, being a hopeless romantic, writer, and reader can be a dangerous combination. I have read all of Colleen Hoover's rom-coms, wrote 2 novellas on love myself, and yet I am still figuring out what love is.

From stories such as Romeo and Juliet and Pride and Prejudice to songs, poems, and letters about love, we can talk about love endlessly in every possible way, through every lens. And what is fascinating is that every time we see a movie or hear a song about love, it leaves us touched.

Love is what connects us, what we live for, and what makes us hopeful.

As I may have already indicated, like many, I have always been entreated with the whole concept of love.

After excessive pleasure-reading and writing, I believe I may finally have a definition of love.

Firstly, when I talk about love - I do not only refer to the romantic affiliation with a partner. I talk about a love that exists everywhere, in every relationship, with the tangible and intangible. With the fondness one has with a pet, the attachment one has with his friends, the invisible intimacy one shares with his childhood crush, to the admiration one may have for flowers.

A few weeks ago, I had this sudden urge to get a plant. Not having any experience with plants or flowers, I decided to go for an indoor plant. Something simple for beginners like me.

While searching about plants, I realized that if we understand the needs and requirements of a certain plant, attend to those needs with care and love, the plant grows.

Isn't it the same with relationships? For them to grow, one needs to understand their needs.

All the relationships we share ask for a certain need from us and we expect some needs in return. This goes both ways. This reminds me of a quote, “And maybe that was love. Being so vulnerable and allowing someone else in so far they could hurt you, but they also give you everything.”

― Christine Feehan, Water Bound

And here, the silly self-thought that I discovered the perfect formula for love.

But eventually, as I kept thinking about it, I reached a conclusion.

Emotions are not based on formulas, logic, or rules. We aren't that simple. Our needs keep evolving as we change and grow. For example, as an 8-year-old, my needs would be to get toys and wanting my parents to play with me. If they do that, I would love them. But 10 years down the road, my needs would be different. I would want that they understand me, before getting protective.

Love - I define it as growth. Like plants need sunlight, water and- soil as their three main components of growth, we need the 3Cs: Communication, Comfort, and Comprehension.

Communication; that we can express, and in return, they can comprehend us, again, going both ways.

Communication; a very vital ingredient for our growth. Unlike the needs of plants, we can’t easily find out what the other person wants, that is, unless we say it ourselves and talk to them. If we alone can practice so much growth, imagine how far can we go if our loved one helps us along the way.

Comfort; be comfortable as you commute. They may or may not get it at first, but with the right reasons, they will meet you halfway there.

Lastly, Comprehension; comprehend what the other person is saying, where they are coming from. We all have been in those conversations, where the next person is listening to us but they don’t hear us. No matter how many times we repeat ourselves.

Don’t be that person, listen to understand rather than listening to answer.

Now, this might be a naive way of understanding love and I guess, along with my life, as I gain more experience, this definition of love might keep reshaping. But for now, I do know that growing in, and with the love of others and yourself will bloom the best of flowers. In your surroundings and yourself.

I have come to understand that love is not one big wedding, one big moment. Love is constant, small, subtle. Just as a plant's growth is constant, small, and subtle. The beauty is that love gives us such a wave of feeling in return that those small things take us high above. Some days a storm might hit harshly, but it will make your roots strong. The day sunlight shines, capture it all in. If you love someone, you want to grow with them. Again, I am not referring to ageing, but blooming as a person, in your passion, in your dream...together.

And if you get these things from a person, and you are willing to give them back to them - that, my friend, is love.

Image/Cover courtesy: Vian Redbubble

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