The older I get, the more I am inclined to believe that the opposite of love is not simply hate but pride. Pride is unreasonable and volatile self-love when love should be selfless. An unconditional selflessness. Love is something that you give, not something you demand, not even something that you give back as a gesture of thanks or as a result of compulsion. No, love is a word that has no equivalent, a whole new dimension without parallels. It is what it is. And it should be what it should be.
I know and understand love through words. I feel loved when I am affirmed verbally, when someone acknowledges not my achievements but my very existence. I know love when someone joins me in my pursuit of life, or simply when someone pursues me constantly and consistently, even if he didn’t have to. I know someone who has given his wife a single red rose every Monday, from the day he asked her to marry him up to the day they celebrated their 10 years of marriage. You may think that he is just being romantic. But this really is devotion, a willingness to continue the pursuit of the beloved even after the initial chase. Furthermore, I know love when I am face to face with someone, and I can’t help but pat her on the back when she’s done a wonderful job, or give him a long lingering kiss after not seeing him for a long time, or just simply put my arms around them when words would no longer suffice. For me, love extends from the tips of my fingers to my small hands to my arms to my chest and my neck to my lips and my eyes to the very veins and nerve endings that spread all throughout my body to the tips of my hair, all the way to my invisible and verbal soul.
But words are transitory. Once said, they vanish into thin air, only to return in tiny wisps of memory, which through time tend to be clouded. For a person like me who knows love through words, love thus needs constancy, a constant need for me to remember what has been said. And so sometimes I feel like I’m begging for scraps of love from anyone willing to throw a morsel at me. Thus begins the opposite of love. This longing for love turns into a demand for it. A certain self-love which dictates that I deserve every ounce of love that I get. And we know now very well that this is pride.