Saturday, September 5, 2009

What's Love Got To Do With It?

Dictionary.com lists 14 different definitions for the word love in noun form. The top 2: –noun 1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. 2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. How often do you use the word love? Do you toss it around casually? Do you say it openly and frequently to friends and family? Does it have meaning for you or is it just a friendly word? I find it interesting that people use it casually. Isn't that a risk? I love you. Those are words with big meaning to most, I think. This is why I love you. It implies a deepening of a relationship. It implies an existing depth. Love carries a different weight than its synonyms. admire, adulate, be attached to, be captivated by, be crazy about, be enamored of, be enchanted by, be fascinated with, be fond of, be in love with, canonize, care for, cherish, choose, deify, delight in, dote on, esteem, exalt, fall for, fancy, glorify, go for, gone on, have affection for, have it bad, hold dear, hold high, idolize, long for, lose one's heart to, prefer, prize, put on pedestal, think the world of, thrive with, treasure, venerate, wild for, worship Do you use the word to gain favor with someone? To create a relationship that maybe isn't there? To make yoursel feel important? Or is it a word that you save and use to describe how you feel? Is the use of the word love about you or about them? I've always assumed that anyone who says they love someone must be saying it for all the "right" reasons. But that's rather silly. Because I was a person who used it for the wrong reasons. In my crazy youthful days, it was a word that held a lot of power and I could use it to push people away, draw them in. Somewhere along the way, I learned that love isn't something to be taken lightly. Somewhere along the way, I learned that saying I love you means something to me and to the person I choose to say it to. Love, in word and in action, is a risk. To use it lightly is to risk misleading well intentioned people. To use it too seriously is to risk pushing people away. And vice versa. Is it just a word? Just a feeling? It kind of goes hand in hand with a sermon my pastor gave a few weeks ago about friendship and facebook and such. It wasn't my favorite of his sermons- because all the things he was saying didn't apply to me. I don't friend people on facebook to up my popularity. I don't base my self-esteem on how many comments I get. I don't put myself online in order to feel as though I have deeper relationships than I really do. But I have made connections. And some of those connections slowly grow into actual friendships. Friendships that start small, start with something in common. Friendships that are nurtured cautiously and carefully. As the process goes on, you sometimes discover vast differences that can't be overcome. Sometimes you find that your online goals are too different to find a middle ground. Sometimes you find that words like friendship and love have vastly different definitions for others. Love What does it mean for you? When someone says I love you, how do you take it?

5 comments:

Flartus said...

This reminds me of that Barenaked Ladies song that says something like "I like fish sticks...but I love you."

My family never uses the "L" word; we do not allow ourselves to be emotionally vulnerable to each other (at least, not openly). Which is one of the things I "love" about Miss Chef. Not only do we say it frequently, randomly when we're around each other, but she's always insisted we say "I love you" at the end of our phone conversations.

Occasionally after I hang up, it feels like it's just something we say, but we both know it's absolutely true. And we did talk about it at the beginning of our relationship. So it's a very conscious re-affirmation for both of us.

I've even tried it on my parents a couple of times. ;)

Raelee said...

Saying "I love you" isn't something I heard regularly until I was married and had children of my own. My family of origin doesn't say these words often, but I always felt loved - they weren't necessary. With my spouse and children it just spills out naturally - it feels right and sounds right and we connect through these words in a way that is different than it was when I was growing up. Both experiences, the past and the present are positive for me. Great question!

Holly said...

My family never says "I love you" either, and sometimes I think it's kind of sad, but on the other hands, it doesn't really bother me.

Teacher Tom said...

When someone says, "I love you," I believe them and say it back.

I'm one of those people who say it to strangers. The costume in my picture here is me dressed as my alter-ego, Captain Superhugger. The most important part of my hugs is that I look people in the eye, man, woman or child and say, "I love you." And I mean it.

For me, love is all about being 100 percent present for another person. If you can do that, even for a few seconds a day, you are the luckiest person alive. This is what being a teacher is for me. The rest of the world disappears when the children arrive and I exist for that time in loving service to them.

Being loved back is both incidental and inevitable.

There's an old French proverb that I try to keep before me, "It not only important to love, it is also important to say it."

We can't talk too much about love.

Strange Mamma said...

hmmmm...how do I take it? I love it when someone asks me a question that makes me think about something I didn't before and it actually reveals something to me about myself. I generally don't believe them, at least not fully. I believe that they think they mean it, at the time for sure, but I don't really believe that they mean it for reals, in a lasting kind of way.