What is love? We ask women of different age groups across segments of society
There are a lot of women who grew up believing in fairy tales, especially in love and romance. Even though the man of their dreams may not exactly be a prince charming or knight in shining armour, the general idea of being swept off their feet and ending up happily ever after is the perception many have about romantic love. It also didn’t help that this fictitious concept was continuously reinforced by the movie industry with famous lines like “You complete me” becoming a beacon of love.
Perhaps it was heartbreak having had one too many relationships with “Mr. Wrongs”, or finding “the one” but ending up not as “happily-ever-after” as they imagined which finally burst their bubble. For many of us, it is only after a dose (or a few) of reality that we begin the journey of discovering what love truly means ... to us.
As Valentine’s Day draws near, theSun shares a couple of women’s views on love.
Datin Ramlah Moktik, 76, housewife
“My definition of love is very old fashioned... Love is about respect, trust and giving your best in any given situation. This applies not only to your spouse, but to your family and friends. I always tell my children, it is not the amount of money that they spend on me that I look for, but quality time with the family in these golden years of mine.
Idrila Idris, 37, auditor (Ramlah’s daughter)
“Love is about giving and caring, but with a pinch of self-interest so that we do not forget and/or neglect our self-worth. It teaches you about joy, selflessness, patience, tolerance and sharing (among others). And in the face of adversity, love teaches you more about yourself; your ability to cope with loss and your strength in getting up on your feet once again and moving on.”
Betsy Sebastian, 67, former real estate agent
“Love is family-hood even in the most testing of times, that’s sealed with unconditional hugs and kisses.” Betsy’s daughter adds that the bond between her mother and her grandfather was very strong. “They were like two peas in a pod and you could say he was her first love,” the daughter says.
Maria Chin Abdullah, 63, member of parliament
“My concept of love is about the union of persons and must be based on respect for equality and diversity. Equality is not about sameness but is about giving each other opportunities to work, participate, share responsibilities, respect differing views, be part of decision-making, and enjoy the partnership and/or family. My late husband and I shared these values and I don't think I have changed much over the years - only more committed to share this concept with my sons and extended family.”
Dorah Wellington, 55, former office administrator
“Being supportive and uplifting each other. Being transparent with each other and sticking together when times are bad. Basically, be soulmates. At my age I realise that life goes on even if your partner is not your soulmate. You learn to come to terms with it, adjust and exist peacefully.”
Varin Gill, 40, mystical events & divine feminine advocate
“Love is the energy needed to become the best version of yourself. It is unique to each individual in terms of how it is shown and experienced. I actually had a vision of those Bollywood/Hollywood films when I think back of my original view of love. Sadly, they rarely showed what happens after a major commitment in a relationship. Today, for me, love has a core, which is self-love. There is no way love, as an energy, can be given without it being present in overflowing amounts within me. So I must first love me before loving anything else, as by creating core self-love I change the dynamics of all my relationships, and they become easier because I understand myself and my needs better.”
Amber Chia, 36, model
“When I was younger, I believed that if my boyfriend loved me, he has to give me everything he has. But as I got older and became more matured, I realised that love has to come from both sides. You can’t always keep taking, you have to give back also. It’s just like a mirror, your partner is a reflection of you. It takes two to build a relationship with mutual understanding and trust in each other.”
Aisyah Rahim, 26, student
“I used to think that love will appear out of nowhere and if it’s meant to be, it will stay on forever. However, as I got older, I realised that love is when you value the bond that you have between each other and choose to flourish it rather than let it fade away.”
Sheera Salim, 28, marketing manager
“I always thought the concept of love was my other half completing me - when two become one. But I’ve learned that I should prioritise loving and respecting myself first, then only can I go on loving others wholeheartedly.”
Clearly, love is not easily defined. It knows no age, race, creed or colour and can’t be bought or sold, neither kept nor controlled. It is though, life’s greatest blessing, therefore, ought to be cherished.