Debunking The L-Word
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Politics and Activism

Debunking The L-Word

Love is not tangible.

Debunking The L-Word

Imagine if I handed you a book, I would easily say, “This is a book.” I could do the same with a variety of objects, I could hand you this and that and just as easily claim it as this or that. However, with the idea of love, it’s not that easy. I cannot give you a physical object and claim it as love, I can say that it represents my love but to call it the object of love is not possible. Love is not tangible, it is not kept in a box to marvel at. We can’t special order it off a website and we can’t tuck it in bed and walk away when we deem it unforgiving and relentless. The feeling of love and it’s expression is an intimate and heart-heavy one that we, as humans, don’t fully recognize its magnitude and the effect that it has.

This past week, I was discussing the concept of saying “I love you” to one of my friends and I described to her my problem with saying those exact three words to people and things when I don’t mean it. We talked about how it’s more surprising for people to hear and receive the words “I deeply care and appreciate for you” rather than “ I love you,” how there are different forms of "I love you’s," and how love doesn’t necessarily have to carry a sense of longevity that people make it out to have.

More than often I catch myself and the people around me saying “love you” as a way of saying goodbye and although I really, really, really do like my friends and they hold a special place in my heart, I’m not sure if I actually love them just yet. Maybe I’ll love them in the future when I get to know them more and the lack of time doesn’t sneak up on me as the last week of college ends, but there’s always the possibility that we’ll drift apart. My point is, eight months doesn’t construct the final base of me saying “I love you” but it does set up the building blocks for a connection. If it’s a keeper of a friendship, there will be a standard of mutual care and respect between the two of us. It’s not common enough though to hear the words “I appreciate that all that you do and I care for you,” and maybe that is etched into the fast-paced “I love you” that slips out at the end of a conversation but why aren’t we saying the words that hold more truth to them?

I think that there is an invisible wall between the saying I love you and love you. When we place the I in front of our love it suddenly becomes too intimate and personal, so we resort to it’s less emotionally attached cousin: love you.

Maybe they both embody the same meaning to you, but maybe there’s a reason that we so easily greet people or bid casual goodbyes with “love you’s.” If we counted the number of times that we said anything along the lines of love to the people around us, the changes in affection would also be countless. We forget that not only do the people change but we do too. Maybe you would have said two years ago that you deeply love the girl that you were dating. But now, in the present, that love has shifted into mutual respect along the lines of rare communication. When you do that, you’re letting the love that existed between you and her live only in that time of your life because that was two years ago. And that's OK.

Love is incredibly malleable. If one person feels one way and expresses in whatever way that makes them comfortable (physical touch, verbal affirmation, or gifts), it isn’t always reciprocated in the same fashion. But that doesn’t mean that the person on the receiving end doesn’t necessarily feel the same foundation of care and kindness that you might feel towards them. So love openly without the fear of being rejected, love openly with a genuine mentality, and love openly without expecting anything in return.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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