Love isn’t about doing the right thing, it’s about doing what feels right.

Love isn’t about doing the right thing, it’s about doing what feels right.

With Valentines Day fast approaching I feel this post is appropriately timed. Today I want to talk about something we as human begins are programmed to look for. Love. But what really is love?

From being tiny we are taught that our parents love us, and because of that they decided to have us; whether that is through having a baby or adopting a child, it is all connected through the love that we inherently search for. Our parents love one another and through that love, they then love their children also. Our parents love us, our grandparents love us, our extended family love us, our siblings love us and so it goes on. We are taught from a young age that we should be loved and love in return, whether that is through family or friendships or relationships. It is something that is programmed within us as something we have such a strong desire to hold onto. So is love something we must have to be happy?

As we mature we are encouraged to look for love in terms of partners. I have had my fair share of boyfriends but does that mean I was looking for love and for someone to spend the rest of my life with? Initially no. Even now, I’m 20 years old, but would I say I was actively looking for someone to settle down with, no. Of course not. I am young and have my whole life ahead of me. So are we encouraged to look for love? Whatever love is anyway.

I know through this post I am throwing a lot of questions out there but not giving many answers. What is love? Are we programmed to look for it? Is love something we must have to feel happy? What happens if we never feel love? What defines love? So many questions, with so many controversial answers, which I guarantee a lot of you will have strong opinions on.

In my opinion, love is so many things and although we are often told what we should think love is through popular culture and days such as Valentines Day, what love really is is scary. In my opinion, love is a comfort, and when I say a comfort I don’t mean that its a safe option because it certainly isn’t that. Love is a comfort that you can put your whole being into. Love is a comfort that is worth taking the risk for. Love is stepping out of your comfort zone and creating a new one by allowing someone else into your world. Love is taking the biggest risk to find the ultimate comfort.

Are we programmed to look for love? In a way, I believe we are, whether that love is a friendship, or a relationship or a strong bond with a family member. I personally believe we are meant to find companionship with people and because that company brings a certain kind of love, I think we are meant to look for love, whether we want to or not.

Romantic love is not something we need to feel happy, but I can understand that for a lot of people it may feel that way. I have been lucky enough to have received love all my life in various different formats, yet I have also been hurt by people who have loved me. Love is therefore not an essential thing we need to keep us happy because we all manage to go on without it being present in our lives. In my opinion, as long as there is some form of love in your life, you will find happiness.Whether that is romantic love or companionship or friendship, love will always be there to make you happy in one way or another.

What happens if we never feel love? Like I say I have been one of those incredibly lucky people who has always been made aware of the fact that she is loved, so for someone to have never felt love in one way or another is very difficult for me to understand. I don’t doubt that there are certain individuals out there that have never been graced with the beauty of being loved. However, Valentines Day could be your lucky day! And even if it isn’t, take a chance again tomorrow and maybe you will meet any amazing person, romantic or not! All love is good love after all.

What defines love? Love isn’t defined by flower or chocolates or wine or amazing surprise dates. But it can be. Love isn’t defined by picnics or days out or movie nights, but it can be. We are taught different ways to express our love for one another through popular culture, through films and books and television shows. However, love is really defined and depicted in any way we want it to be. If you want to go down the cliche route and get your partner some flowers, do it. If you want to surprise them and take them to an amazing restaurant that they will never believe they are at, do it. If you want to simply cook a meal for them, do it. Love isn’t always about large gestures, but it can be. Love isn’t about doing the right thing, it’s about doing what feels right.

This post has probably been a massive ramble but I want to make one thing clear here to wrap up this babble of thoughts. Love can be whatever you want it to be, maybe we all really are looking for it but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Go out tomorrow and take the risk. Fall in love again and again, through friendships and companionships and relationships. Define love for yourselves, because there is no instruction manual for this.

Happy Valentines Day!

words by: Sophie Swift

edited by: Phil Miller

The New Collection.

Phil Miller

Phil Miller has just graduated with a first class BA (hons) in English Literature. He is now reading for an MRes Humanities under the supervision of Dr Katie Halsey and Dr Emma Macleod, which seeks to look at 18th-Century perceptions of Radical literature, key figures of the epoch and British literary reactions to the French Revolution. Outside of academia, Phil is particularly passionate about the politics of globalisation and political rhetorical strategy. He writes from a centrist outlook.

Phil founded The New Collection in 2017, but after a period of living in Australia, alongside the culmination of his undergraduate study, The New Collection only became what it is today in late 2020. The idea is for people to be able to come and write about what empowers them, about hope and change and what’s going on in the world. It’s a place to come and tell your story.

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