As I was talking with a friend last night, he brought up the difference between, "love", and being "in love". What is the difference? I suspect that people have many different definitions and ideas about this subject. Some may say, being in love isn't a choice, or loving someone is, or isn't a choice, or many other ideas regarding this issue. The phrase "I am in love with you", makes me think of romance, a feeling that we get that may be related to a passionate experience, a kind of a buzz, or delightful high. Most of us know that feeling. "Loving someone", for me is more about our hearts, and more about understanding the person we care about. When I think of loving someone, it is more about making their life better, and concern for their wellbeing, and what matters to them. I suspect that loving someone is about friendship, and in the, "perfect world it would be mutual". In the perfect world we would also be perfect, and would not make mistakes or communicate poorly at times. When we love someone we are mindful of their struggles, their insecurities, and their suffering. As we understand their struggles we spend our life trying to help them suffer less. This may be challenging at times because of our own limitations, our own fears, and maybe at times, our own need to define ourselves and set boundaries. It can be difficult due to the barrage of emotions that we ourselves need to understand and accept., however, we are very concerned about making their life more pleasant and joyful. We have compassion for the person that we love. We turn towards them when they are struggling, anxious, sad, or fearful. We also understand their need for freedom, and we share in their joy, achievement, and accomplishments. We take time to listen to them regarding the things that are important to them, we show interest in their interests, and we nourish them both physically and emotionally. Thich Nhat Hanh says, "Love is not about passion or craving, it is about understanding". When we love, we are trying to remove the suffering from the person we care so much about. Often people believe that they love someone but, they are only feeling passion, craving, their own need, and lust. There focus is on themselves, and the way the other makes them feel. When we love someone, we are likely to still care about them, and want to make their life better, even when they may no longer love us, or want us in their life. When we love someone, it is not something that we are likely to fall out of so easily. When we truly love someone, even though we may be hurt, sad, or even angry, the caring and desire for the other to have a better life continues to persist. It will persist no matter what the circumstances. Is it that we give our heart to someone, or is it that we let them into our heart? Of course love is not always about intimate relationships. No matter what the nature our loving relationship, the desire to understand the other as completely and fully as possible, and the desire and willingness to help remove their suffering are primary components. If that is not there it is not love.