Love is A Four-Letter Word

So much contention and debate over a single word. It’s used, overused, misused and misinterpreted to an alarming degree. There are so many definitions of love  it’s almost impossible to actually decide which one is the most accurate. WikiHow even provides an actual infographic definition. With all this how do some people still manage to get it so very, very wrong? It’s become a word that can simply be thrown into a sentence at any time about any thing. Much like our favourite ‘f’ word, it’s become so commonplace and universal it can literally mean anything these days. On too many levels, the word seems to have lost its positive meaning. It’s bandied about so lightly, used as a means of manipulation and is regarded with suspicion and disdain by many. 

What do we really mean when we say ‘I love you’? What should it mean? Understandably, the emotions you feel for family relations should manifest themselves differently than the emotions you feel for a romantic partner and those that you feel in a platonic relationship. But should the love be demonstrated differently? Shouldn’t there be some consistency in the manner in which it is expressed. If you love someone, regardless of their role in your life, shouldn’t it be easily identifiable? No seriously, I’m asking.

I always thought love was supposed to be a good thing – invariably, unequivocally. My personal definition of love comes from the Bible and when I tell someone that I love them, that’s what they should expect from me. So it’s amazing and disturbing to me to hear people in abusive relationships declaring with fervour that their partner, the person who attacks them verbally, emotionally, and/or physically, loves them. It’s frightening to see friends declaring love for a person who they gossip about and will argue with or abandon at the first difference of opinion. It’s disheartening to see family members who love each other endlessly fight viciously over material things. 

On a personal level, I’ve had declarations of love. From perfect strangers who think that all there is to me is a nice face and body, from partners who very quickly demonstrated everything but patience, kindness, forgiveness, understanding etc. I don’t use it very often because I take it very seriously. When I say it I mean it and when I mean it I demonstrate it. I’m grateful to the people who mean it as much as I do when they say it and who live it daily in the way they treat me and others.

I’m trying my best not to reduce it to the base level of just another word. Fortunately, for every day that I scoff at it and regard it as trite, I have more days when I see it exemplarily displayed in my favourite couples, my best friends and my most cherished family members. I’m making an effort to hold fast to my definition of love and to live it consistently. Imagine how wonderful our interactions would be if we were all truly loving…




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