Growing up, my aunt would always tell me that I use the word "love" too often. It wasn't until my freshman year of college that I realized what she meant. Love is this word that we should use to describe this unconditional, unexplainable, heart aching feeling that we have for something that we can't imagine living without. But instead, we throw it around saying things like,
"Oh, I love that girl," after having just met her five minutes prior.
"I LOVE your shirt, where is it from?" just to spark some conversation with someone.
The more we say it, the more the value continues to decrease. The more it becomes this meaningless filler word that we use to complete sentences we don't even care to say and probably won't remember.
Although I'm still guilty of using it, college was an eyeopener of when you should and when you shouldn't say, "I love you". I had a great time in high school; surrounded myself with a lot of great people and made memories that will last a lifetime. But the best friends that I made in college taught me what love should look like when it comes from someone of no relation. They showed me that no matter what fights you get into, or how big of a bitch you're being that week, that love is consistent, even when they don't necessarily like you at the moment.
My college friends also made me realize what love I was given from a select few of friends that I had at home, and I guarantee that doesn't include a single, "Happy birthday, I love you!" shoutout that I gave on twitter or Facebook to people I spoke to on occasion.
People always say that your family has to love you because they are your family. That couldn't be more untrue. Some people aren't lucky enough to receive that unconditional love from a parent or family members as others. The love from a family is not only upfront and personal, but it's also behind the scenes and always in motion. Being away at college made me realize how lucky I am to have an Aunt and Uncle who support me continuously, as if I were their own child. Even when I mess up, or have moments when I am unsure of myself, they lift me up and show me what it is like to have a love so strong that distance couldn't change a thing.
So I guess the point I'm getting to is, save it. Save the "I love you" for your best friend who picks you up when you're at the lowest point in your life. Save it for the family member that supports and guides you when you feel unsure of yourself. Save it for the person who makes your heart beat a little faster and reminds you of your beauty; before all the makeup. And every time you say it, mean it. And when you realize how much you love someone or something, love it with all your heart. Love it with everything that you have.