Some people, especially my students, ask me how they would know if they are truly in love. My short and immediate answer would always be, “When you and your partner have become better persons.” In Filipino I ask them, “Mas nagiging mabuting tao ka ba sa relasyon mo ngayon?” I guess this is the true essence of love, at least for me. It makes the other person a better version of herself/himself. However, if the partner becomes worst, destructive, damaging, and disorganized because of the relationship, then I guess this is not love; it is mere infatuation. If you are in love, you are a-live (the word “live” when spelled backwards is “evil”). Opposite to love is death, i.e., death of your human potentials, death of your dreams and aspirations, death of your aliveness as a person. Thus, any kind of abuse in the relationship is regarded as death to the human spirit.
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