Hopeful or hopeless romantic
Love makes the world go round. We have heard of it, experienced it, and let’s just say: we’ve all had our fair share of pain and pleasure when it comes to love. We decided to find out what love truly means to Malaysians – by asking 7 Malaysians from various generations to share their take on love and whether they are a hopeful or hopeless romantic.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. “Love means to feel at home with another soul”
Image credit: Karen Michell
Karen Michell has a profound perspective on love, believing it goes beyond the realm of chemical reactions in the brain. Michell, who is a Clinical Research Associate, explained that love is about “sharing life’s journey with someone, embracing both the good and the bad” and “feeling at home with another soul”.
She believes that love is built on transparency and loyalty, where both partners uplift and motivate each other to pursue dreams and goals – it’s about supporting one another through the ups and downs of life and walking hand in hand down the path of life.
When it comes to her outlook on love, Michell views herself as a hopeful romantic, as she cherishes the effort and the little gestures that come with genuine affection. She elaborated: “It’s as simple as reaching out to someone when you’ve had a bad day. Although I’ve had my fair share of heartbreaks, I believe love does exist for as long as good-willed people exist”.
2. “Love without expectations is the purest form of emotion”
Image credit: Mariatul Kibtiyah binti Silahudin Jarjis via Facebook
When asked how she defines love, Mariatul Kibtiyah binti Silahudin Jarjis beautifully likened it to “that hot cocoa after a succulent dish”. To her, love is the bliss that comes from offering emotional support, much like “that umbrella during a day filled with grit and kicks”.
For Kibtiyah, love is a profound connection, leaving it to be defined only by God and her own intuition. She believes that approaching love with a blank slate and offering it without expectations is the purest form of emotion.
As a 50-year-old teacher from generation X, Mariatul firmly believes in being a giver of hopeful love. She doesn’t fret about waiting for love to come her way. Instead, if fate has it in store, “then come onto me!” Kibtiyah declared.
3. “Love is all that truly matters to me”
Image credit: @marcusanthony88 via Instagram
As a fellow millennial, Marcus Anthony feels that “love is about the care and comfort you share with the important people in your life”. He shared that it’s about recognising and catering to each other’s needs and priorities, showcasing the depth of affection that exists between two individuals.
For Anthony, the journey may involve heartbreaks and challenges, but he firmly believes that enduring love is worth the effort. He is committed to putting in the work required to make a relationship last – even if it means facing conflicts and misunderstandings along the way.
To him, such hurdles can be stepping stones to strengthen the bond between partners.
Anthony shared that at the end of the day what truly matters is how you make up for any disagreements – sweet gestures like surprising your SO with a bouquet of flowers or going on dinner dates can rekindle the romance and mend any rifts in the relationship.
The 35-year-old hopeless romantic said that he is “ready to choose love again and again”, so long as the relationship is not toxic: “I will continue to feel it all over again because love is all that truly matters to me”.
4. “Communication and commitment are the keys to a relationship”
Image credit: Cordelia Lee via Facebook
For meditation teacher, Cordelia Lee, love is a perpetual journey that takes on various forms. She elaborated that it is: “a need, a desire, a fantasy, or a discovery”. As a fellow member of generation X, she recalled how she defined love in her youth: “It first started with starry eyes, hoping a man would sweep me away in his arms. To lead, to protect, and to love me”.
However, life’s experiences have taught her valuable lessons about relationships. Lee recognised that being a hopeless romantic can lead to roller coaster rides of extreme emotions and self-entitlement. With time and maturity, she has come to realise that love requires a sense of practicality.
Hopeful love encompasses “commitment, trust, and acceptance of a person’s strengths and weaknesses”, Lee said. It involves perseverance during challenging times and “understanding that no relationship is without its trials”.
As she has evolved into a hopeful romantic, she believes that “communication and commitment are the keys to a relationship. It is not confined to romantic ideals but rather rooted in a deep and genuine connection between individuals”.
5. “It’s a give and take, for the best or worst”
Image credit: Haikal Zuhairi via Facebook
Haikal Zuhairi sees love as a commitment – it’s a give-and-take, and all about accepting the best and the worst. When it comes to love, the 30-year-old marketing executive shared that he believes in practicality and how both sides must work to ensure happiness.
“We put our commitment on things that we like, things that we love, and whether the journey is good or bad, we are still putting our commitment on it by choice”, Zuhairi said.
To him, it’s about dancing together with another person at the same pace and rhythm. It teaches us something. Though it may sound paradoxical with the common perception, “love too is conditional”, he added.
As a fellow millennial, he believes that it takes both parties to compromise with each other – only then can it work out and last longer. To him, that’s “hopeful love”.
6. “Love lives in the small gestures that warm your heart”
Image credit: Grace Tan
As a hopeful romantic, Grace Tan resonates deeply with verses in the Bible. “For me, it’s not all the loud proclamations or even sending flowers on Valentine’s Day”, she shared. Instead, she sees love in the small everyday gestures that warm your heart, such as giving each other food; asking, “How was your day?”; and listening intently to what interests your SO and knowing what lights up their faces.
“Love means always being there for them and having their back, no matter what”, Tan added.
She’s aware that no one is perfect and that we all have our demands for a partner, and that “No one is a mind reader. If you would like something in a relationship, ask for it and communicate honestly”.
When in love, the fellow millennial reflects upon a conscious question: “If my partner loses everything in life, would I still choose to love and support him regardless? When the answer is yes, that is love.
7. “It’s the little efforts and commitments”
Image credit: Elena Tong via Facebook
Fellow millennial and motivational speaker, Elena Tong, believes that love is the “little efforts and commitments” she gives to herself and to the people around her. It’s simple affirmations to show that “you matter”, “you’re important”, and “you’re worthy”.
As a hopeful romantic, she believes that commitment is important in a relationship, and it is affirmed by actions, thoughts, and spoken or unspoken words. “It’s about the smallest gestures, the ability to communicate our needs, putting one another in mind, and providing a safe space for growth as an individual and a relationship together”, Tong elaborated.
She went on to say how she values a romantic relationship that will blossom with respect for one another, despite agreeing to disagree, as “we’re both on the same team”.
What Malaysians think about love
Whether we find ourselves hopefully or hopelessly in love, there’s no denying the sheer beauty of it. While some connections may be fleeting, lasting only for a brief moment in time, others endure longer, standing the test of time. Regardless, we can agree that love does not have an expiration date.
As Shakespeare puts it, “the course of true love never did run smoothly”.
So whether you’re a hopeful or a hopeless romantic, we hope that no matter where you go, love will follow.
For more thought-provoking stories, check out:
- Overcoming the flash floods in Malaysia in 2021
- Growing up in Genting Highlands
- Getting called a racist slur in secondary school
Cover image adapted from: Karen Michell, Grace Tan & Haikal Zuhairi via Facebook
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