Love is a Taught Construct



How do you know how to love? Did you sit wide-eyed in front of a large screen as colourful costumed characters hugged one another to a saccharine sound-track so this imbued you with the concept of what love was? Did those cartoon characters explain to you what it is to love? Did their exaggerated voices and crazy antics, followed by the moral of the story teach you what love is?

Perhaps you read about it in love, heard it in songs and studied the many ways in which this ultimate emotion appears and affects people. Chances are that you have been affected by those hugely affecting passages from the great works dedicated to love. Chances are you have been captured by haunting lyrics and catchy jingles which also profess to tell you what love is.

They have all played a part. You may have learned about love from the version churned out by the media, of Hollywood romance, dashing heroes, fair maidens, tarts with golden hearts, the good man who rides to the rescue, the wayward soul saved by love. Love may have been explained to you from the pulpit as a higher love, something which transcends all earthly manifestations, a love so powerful and complete that it sacrificed its only son in order to demonstrate its love for humankind.

This godly love is all around you, it touches each and all and is mighty in its effects. Love may have been learned from furtive fumbles down alleyways, sneaking into bedrooms when so young, the exploration of warm and urgent body parts accompanied by those ever so sincere protestations of love.

A haphazard journey through galloping teen years as nothing and everything makes sense all at once. Then again, love might have appeared to you in the form of something small and furry, an unconditional (so long as it was fed) love which was loyal, giving and ever so cute. So many erudite tutors, learned lecturers and wise proponents of what love is.

Love thy neighbour, love yourself, love is all you need, woman in love, it must have been love, crazy little thing called love, to know him is to love him, we found love, how deep is your love? Love is all around us, in us, between us, lifting us up and letting us down. It is everywhere and you may well have been taught by many of the above and more besides as to what love is.

However, love most likely will have been taught to you by those who created you, those two people who came together and through their own pleasure created you. Two people who decided that they would shoulder the responsibility of creating life, nurturing it and bringing a new person into the world.

Those two people accepted many, many responsibilities from such a decision and act. Chief among them was the responsibility of teaching that person what love is. Through their offices they have furnished each and every one of us with the notion of what love is. A deep-seated and visceral understanding of this is how love feels, this is what it looks like, this is what it sounds like.

This is love. From those two people more than anything else we are first grounded in the concept of what love is. This grounding lasts a considerable time and whilst there are other factors to be considered, as I have mentioned above, it is this lesson which is learnt invariably first and the one lesson which resonates beyond all others. So often we are in their hands when it comes to being taught about love. So, what is this taught love? It has so many, many facets.

Love is being told to never trust anybody.

Love is being made to re-write the entire essay because of one spelling mistake.

Love is being sent to stand outside on a cold winter’s day until all three verses of Ode to Autumn are recited correctly.

Love is knowing nothing is ever good enough.

Love is understanding that someone else knows better than you what is best for you.

Love is turning away from the reality.

Love is standing straight against a wall for several hours for speaking out of turn.

Love is for the weak.

Love is being told that when I am gone nobody else will look out for you.

Love is succeeding.

Love is building a wall as high as possible.

Love is trying until it hurts and gaining that final curt nod of approval.

Love is being seen and not heard.

Love is fulfilling your potential and securing that legacy.

Love is hurting you even though it hurts me, but someone in this household has to do it and it won’t be him will it?

Love is reading to yourself than being read to.

Love is living in the shadows and hoping not to be noticed.

Love is being the best.

Love is the preserve of the powerful.

Love is being denied a birthday party because the other children are too stupid.

Love is being undermined in order to prevent conceit.

Love is a begrudged recognition and the injunction to try harder, go further, climb higher, run faster, study longer.

Love is burning your hand but not crying.

Love is don’t tell anybody about our secret.

Love is a righteous beating.

Love is being distant and pretending things never happened.

Love is being sent away.

Love is not being told.

Love is splendid isolation.

Love was taught this way.



Is it Love?

7 thoughts on “Love is a Taught Construct

  1. Anna says:

    Indeed. Love is learned. How can you know what it is if you have never experienced it?

    A bit like feelings in general really. Sometimes I get the impression that the brain is like a computer that needs to be programmed.

    They say it is better to feel pain than to feel nothing at all, but if you feel too much pain you will become numb, and then it is possible to not feel anything anymore. A survival instinct. Sometimes the pain can be just too much.

    I think it is worse though if you knew what it was like to feel, to have loved. Then not feel anymore. They say you do not miss something if you never knew what it was like or ever had it.

    It is worse to be stripped of emotion, to become numb.

  2. Joa says:

    I don’t know what love is. Perhaps, like my mother, I cannot love either. People love so differently, in such different ways, and so different things.

    I know only one thing and with 100% certainty. I have a lot of accumulated energy in me, that circulates and swirls inside me, constantly and constantly looking for an outlet. Constantly and constantly looking for recipient of feelings.

    Just like Narcissus looks for fuel to absorb it. I am looking for recipients on whom I will pour this energy.

    I don’t know if I love or if I’m selfish who satisfies my greatest need.

    I know, people like it, when I give them this – as long as I control and dose well. Only some are able to take the full dose – which makes me even more it turns 🙂 With time, some will trample it. It hurts a bit. But in fact, the most important thing for me is to find a recipient to whom I will give my “excess”…

    I’ve learned to give a little to more people. I pour out my excess and move away, give them a break from me, to not overwhelm someone, not to “suffocate”. It’s safer than relying on just one person.

    The lack of a recipient is like mental death for me.

    I have to pour out my version of love on others…


    Even with my daughter, I always have to control myself, so that she can feel secure as a separate entity. I am very sensitive to her reactions and withdraw immediately with my outpouring of love, if I sense the slightest grimace or discouragement. She has a lot of free space.


    I miss the symbiotic relationship with Narcissus so damn much, that it tears my guts apart sometimes.

    Sometimes I have to get close for a while… Consequences – for me – are irrelevant. I can accept them all. As long as no one around got hurt.

  3. CHERYL Oster says:

    You are correct. Even for non-narcissist, the learned version of love is an unrealistic expectation of another person’s ability to always make you happy and to never hurt you. This is a ridiculous burden of responsibility put upon another person, isn’t it? You set them up to fail and ensure a future of hurt for yourself. We long for the impossible with this understanding of love.

    We all have our own definition of love and this definition determines our happiness. If your mother believed that she was perfect, then she wanted you to be like her. To her, that was love. She loved you. Now you have this definition. Are you happy with your current definition of love? If not, just rewrite your definition. You’re an excellent writer, it should be easy for you.

  4. Rebecca says:

    I can only say what I think was my first exposure to love, my maternal grandmother. She was affectionate and kind to me, but sometimes stern, but not cruel.My childhood dog, Cocoa, with his snuggles, affectionate licks, playing with me and then later protecting me from other dogs and people… such a beloved dog,after all this time, I can still cry thinking about him, with a smile and tears. My dad, after he came back from being overseas. I was almost 2 when I met my dad for the first time. He was affectionate, protective and he was such a great teacher for me. He taught me how to ride a bike, later drive a car and so much about life. I still miss him so much. My three teachers of love, my grandmother, my dog and my dad. Xx

  5. Sangeeta says:

    Thank you for the insights about your past.

  6. Asp Emp says:

    January 2021 – I wrote “no fkg therapist can change that” (RE: having my own ‘darkness’). I stated at that time that it was still present.

    It’s not now.

    Who provided the resources? HG Tudor.

    Who did the work? Me (on my own emotions, my own mind).

    Other people’s contributions to HG’s sites (including his) assisted to offer different views of the prism of HG’s work.

    Only the individual themselves can actually to the ‘work’ because no-one else can ‘wire’ your mind, or your emotions. You have the ‘power’ (HG’s resources) and ‘control’ (unlearn, learn, relearn).

    The 3 key words here, in my opinion, is “unlearn, learn, relearn” – all to do with ONE word, with different perspectives and, that, in my view, is “unlearn the past, learn in the present, relearn for the future”, again, 3 different perspectives, 3 aspects of one’s life.

    THAT is the triangle. Not triangulation 🙂

  7. Tom says:

    Wow…I met that tutor too. .. love is being locked out in the garden till midnight and being too embarrassed to tell your neighbour why your outside in the cold and dark… it’s being kicked out of the house every evening and finding somewhere safe to hide until he returns home.

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