Everywhere in the world people are in search of love, for everyone is convinced that love alone can save the world; love alone can make life meaningful and worth living. But how very few understand what love really is and how it arises in the human heart. It is so frequently equated with good feelings for others, with benevolence or nonviolence or service. But these things in themselves are not love.
Love springs from awareness. It is only inasmuch as you see someone as he or she really is here and now and not as they are in your memory or your desire or in your imagination or projection that you can truly love them; otherwise, it is not the person that you love but the idea that you have formed of this person.
Source: The Way to Love