Hey there folks!
I hope this finds you all well. Given that the often dreaded Valentines Day has come and gone, recently my mind has been on matters of love. As with many topics that take up space in between my ears I have discussed this with my cousin as well. One of the refreshing things about sharing things with my cousin is that she thinks like I do in many regards. Despite being estranged for more than 20 years we find common ground in a lot of areas which is a pretty remarkable feeling for me.
With a topic as emotionally charged as love it is natural to expect differing opinions. In my experience it seems that no two people define love in the same way. In this regard my cousin and I are no different really; however, we do both agree on one thing. Love is not only an important thing, but also a precious commodity that can be spread thin.
The first time I really explored this argument was in an English class in high school. Actually the class was called Paideia and was a hybrid of history and literature, which I still think was undeniably cool because it meant we got to study great works of literature in conjunction with the world and events in which they were created. In the middle of a class discussion about love in literature I asked the question and challenged my teacher. By being too frequent with the expression of love, does it not cheapen the expression? My teacher shut down this line of thinking very quickly and it certainly did not win me any friends amongst my classmates, as those who cared to pay attention thought I was arguing against love.
By no means was I arguing against the expression of love, more so I was arguing in defense of the sincerity of expression and this is something that is still important to me today. While I have moved beyond the cynicism of my youth and take no issue with someone genuinely expressing love as much as they like, I do still take issue with people who use the words nonchalantly with no concern as to what they mean.
The pain in the ass with love is what does it actually mean? By no means am I here today to try and define love for you, because I do not know that anyone is up to that task. We all admit that we love our family, and most differentiate that kind of love from romantic love. Then of course there is the difference some make between loving someone and being in love with someone. If I am completely honest I do not know what to make of all of these differences. Obviously I recognize that romantic interests contain a sexual component that is absent with family members, but the difference between loving and being in love seems like a lot of gibberish to me. The most egregious of all is the use of the words I love you to manipulate. Those three little words carry power, that much cannot be denied and those that use the words to further personal agendas further complicate the issue.
Certainly I could go on for hours about love, and some people have made careers trying to answer these questions. However, my point for today is to ask, why do we use one word to describe such a complex concept? Part of me feels that a lot of this confusion could be taken care of if different attributes were given different words. Although I suppose we do that to a degree already to no avail, as many people confuse lust and love despite their remarkable differences.
How do you navigate the minefield that is love? Let me know in the comments below.