In a letter dated November 10, 1958, Steinbeck gives his son Thom some inspirational advice on love. Without reading Thom's letter, it seems like he was questioning if love he was feeling was real, and if he should tell his intended.
There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you - of kindness and consideration and respect - not only social respect of manners, but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release you in strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn't know you had.Steinbeck goes on to tell his son that being in love is a good thing, and he shouldn't let anyone "make it small or light." He tells him if you love someone, there is no harm in saying so; that sometimes what you feel will not be returned, but that "does not make your feeling any less valuable and good."
Dude shoulda written a dating blog.
I've often wondered what love would look like, if I ever found it again. Would it make sense? Would the timing be right? How would I recognize it? Am I so jaded from broken hearts and missteps that it would just pass me by? Or would I know it without a doubt?
I think Steinbeck might be on target with the comment, "an outpouring of everything good in you...."
Love isn't something that should change me for the worse. It shouldn't make me compromise what is good in me. It shouldn't make me angry or scared or worried.
It should fill me with happiness, and bring out my best, and make me want to be better. So, love isn't a person or a look that I will recognize. I will recognize that I'm better - and that is love. Love isn't something you look to someone else to find; it's something you find within yourself.
That's the kind of love I want.