My favourite definition of love is also the simplest. “The gauging and supply of another’s needs.”
Apply that to any relationship and you have the secret of what will make it a success.
And the reason that this is so, is that the very greatest of all human needs is the need to be loved. No need is more important than this. When we feel love, we feel both protection and fulfilment in the emotions of others. That need, that essential dependence on others when we consider ourselves strong and self-sufficient, exists whether or not we are aware of it, can speak of love, have difficulty in finding love, or spend our lives in search of it. All of us need to be loved, even when we persuade ourselves that we don’t, or we appear to be unlovable. Because needing to be loved is just a call for someone to love us.
As Steven Pinker writes in his superb “How the Mind Works,” ‘the study of happiness often sounds like a sermon for traditional values. The numbers show that it is not the rich, privileged, robust or good-looking who are happy: it is those who have spouses, friends, religion and challenging work.’
In other words those whose relationships endow them with the potential to love and be loved, to have someone to love them.
Because in order to be truly happy we all need to feel loved. We are obsessed with being loved. Our need to be loved is both genuine and desperate, and by seeking love, sharing love, sampling love, testing love, we can find that extra source of care and protection; through an act of love we can pass on our genes to the next generation.
And that is all that Nature wants. That is how we conduct ourselves, how Nature wants us to be as the entire purpose of life is its own preservation. Unlikely as it may seem, life has no other purpose.
Which brings us back to our great need to be loved. Running like an invisible thread throughout all our experience and dealings, the need to be loved is the most powerful influence in all human contact, even though the wreckage of love may be all around us. And there is nothing we can do about it. Feeling loved is all that we aspire to. It is a personal validation in any relationship. Making them feel loved is genuinely the thing of most value that one person may give to another. We feel protected by love as this is how Nature programmed us to feel. Proximate to survival, our feeling loved is a need fulfilled and an ideal state in which to sustain the protection of our genes.
That we all need to feel loved is the great communion of humankind. That we feel loved is the ultimate fulfilment of our greatest need.
‘Am I loved?’ ‘Yes you are.’ ‘Am I happy?’ ‘You should be.’
Am I Loved? The Most Asked Question Of All Time by John D. Bieber, Umbria Press, 28th May 2021, hardback £17.99, ebook £5.69.
It might also refer to how content you feel with a partner or more generally in life at present. On the flipside, perhaps you aren’t getting as much love as you’d like and you long for this feeling. If you saw a couple who were in love in your dreamscape, there is a good chance that you will be successful in your endeavours. If your friend was in love with you in your dream, perhaps this is something you genuinely want to happen. You may have developed feelings for a friend and are wondering if they feel the same way. Less romantically- perhaps you have simply adopted certain traits of your friend into your own personality. If you see your lost love, then you may be looking for all the things your present relationship lacks- excitement, fun and freshness for instance...