Love vs Lust

Love vs Lust

By Stephen A. Dantes

coupleThere are many ways to tackle this topic; scientifically, psychologically, socially, culturally, religiously, artistically, etc. Instead, I will simply discuss as if it were a conversation between a big brother and a teenage sister:

We all ask ourselves sometimes whether we love someone truly or are we just infatuated with them. And often, we judge our relationships based on outcomes or the finale of them. Human nature makes any person just as weak or feeble as each other. None of us are superhuman. However, not everyone goes through the same trials just as not all have the same resources at their disposal to face adversities. And in keeping with the topic, some of us discover the true meaning of love whilst others a controlled by the lustful desires of their hearts.

What does it mean to love and what, to lust?

To lust simply means ‘to have strong sexual desire towards someone’. To love means, well… to love (which I will elaborate on below). Everyone knows what lust is, but not everyone knows what love is. Sometimes, we are unaware of how closely connected the two are in the lives of average people. Some people spend a long time trying to keep and hold unto someone they lust and seldom realize that their relationship is only skin deep.

The younger an individual is, especially teenagers, the higher the probability of them not knowing what love is. And with that comes the entanglement of lust with what they think love is, and then the eventual doom and gloom – in majority of cases – of hearts broken beyond repair.

It is hard to argue whether teenagers are capable of finding or understanding love since there are many variables to consider for each individual. Differing maturity levels, physical and cognitive developmental stages, personal experiences, character, social environments; all are factors that determine one’s ability to ‘love’ or understand love.

That being said, you may want to know exactly what it means to love. Well, we all have our own definitions of what we think love is. You have yours and I, mine. But I believe that there is a standard by which all definitions should be judged by.

“Love is an absolute; it is perfect, it does not err. We often confuse trying to attain its perfection for an ultimate embodiment of it – quintessence – when it isn’t. For as long as you fail at it, you are still trying to understand and live it. You’re not complete yet.” sadantes 2012

Sometimes it may be best to tell someone, “I’m loving you” instead of “I love you”. For love is completion and perfection. With it comes attributes such as patience and understanding, long suffering, forgiveness and kindness. Love does not purposefully do wrong and does not keep record of wrongs. That means that if one decides to cheat willfully, her/she has not learned to love. And likewise, if the one who is cheated on is unable to forgive and/or move onwards whether together or apart, then he/she too doesn’t know or understand love.

Merely uttering the words ‘I love you’ to someone does not mean you love them truly. Being totally attracted to someone does not mean you love them either. It is natural to desire someone in a sexual way, especially as a teenager when hormones rage. Often times, what teenagers believe is love is only the natural process of developing. During the teen stage, lust is so strong that the average male or female believes that the novel desires and passions felt are the ultimate embodiment of love. The physical attributes which accompany these emotions, like butterflies in the tummy, are all part of growing and dealing with teenage hormonal imbalances.

Now, when teenagers are unable to satisfy particular desires or deal properly with emotional and physical changes in their body, they often make poor choices; sometimes as  result of external factors like pressure or internal ones like poor self-esteem. Whatever the reasons, teens do travel dangerous roads in decision making. Some repercussions to poor decisions are undesirable endings like teenage pregnancy, or horrific ones like teen suicide.

The problem with society is that most times both parents are not there to speak to teens about the challenges of growing up and dealing with changes in their bodies. Teens are often left alone to accept council from educational institutions or other mediums of education or educating on how to deal with issues like attraction and sex. Parents usually are unable or incapable of addressing those issues for varying reasons like shame, ignorance, fear, intimidation, etc.

In the absence of parents or guardians, it is wise for there to be a confidant who can discuss the struggles and challenges of life with a teen, and in the process, help him/her to differentiate the difference between love and lust. This may help reduce the frequency of which teens lose their virginity as well as how young they are when it is lost. As a result, social ills such as teen pregnancy and psychological ailments can also be reduced.

I will end this discussion by presenting a poem I wrote:

Perfect Love
By Stephen A. Dantes

I was
A looking
For perfection in
An imperfect
A world
You came
And showed me
That imperfection
Is perfection
In an imperfect world

About the author:
Born in St. Lucia, Stephen A. Dantes left his career as a Mathematics teacher to explore his passion for performance poetry and writing. Having received a few awards for his work, he was the 2nd place winner in the “Spoken Word” category in the 2006 St. Lucia Annual National Arts Festival and was awarded “Most Requested Guest Performer” by the St. Lucia Writer’s Forum in 2010. Currently residing in Ontario, he continues to publish his poems and work on his next novel, a sequel to Is It Love?.