What is love?
Valentine’s Day is typically known for being the day to celebrate love. When you hear the word love, with what do you usually associate it with? In the dictionary, the word love has about five different definitions. People use the word love all the time, but do they really know what it means?
To me, love means something different to every single person, and I think you need to define what it means to yourself before you can bring yourself to tell someone, “I love you.” There are tons of middle and high school relationships and all over Facebook I constantly see posts saying, “I love you so much.” Honestly though, are you just saying words or are you saying something that you really mean? I’m not saying that they are just lying, because who am I to say that? I have no idea what these people are really feeling, but what I do know is that many of these relationships end in a period of 1 to 2 weeks, which just makes me sad. I really think that there is a major fine line between liking someone/being attracted to them, and loving someone. Everything you say you really have to think about before you type those words or say them. Love is a word that can be overused and belittled. I’m not saying that love is the most important thing out there (I’m only in 8th grade for crying out loud) but I mean if you are going to say a word shouldn’t you know the definition of it first? I’m not necessarily saying you need to experience love to be able to know what it means, but you should at least know what it means to yourself to love someone. Like I mentioned before, love has five different dictionary definitions, and to me there could be about a hundred more. People claim love is hard to explain because to them it is more of a feeling than just a word. Sometimes saying words that you don’t really mean can make you convince yourself that you actually feel a certain way. Unfortunately, sometimes that can cause you to make yourself do things with which you are not comfortable, or make it easier for people to convince you to do things with which you are not okay.
When I refer to people saying, “I love you,” I’m not referring to when you say that to your mom or dad, or a friend, or about your favorite food, but to someone that you claim to “like” or be in a relationship with. When I asked people what the word love meant my responses varied greatly. One person said, “Love has no real effect. Meaning like it’s not just a word. You feel it all over. Love really has no real definition, because it is completely unexplainable but you can feel it. It’s like trying to explain what water tastes like.” Then I found two other people who had amazingly similar definitions. They said, “Love is being able to look at someone no matter what their flaws are and not think less of them. Love is the feeling you get when you would sacrifice what you want to make someone else happy.”
As I was looking through my responses, I came across one from a couple I have known all my life. They’ve always been a major inspiration to me. When I got the response this is what it said: “What love means to us: The desire to put each other’s needs before our own. I want to be able to please my husband, and I also need to know what I have to do to please him. I also need to realize that he is trying just as hard to please me. We go out of our way to make sure this happens. Love is a decision of the will. Everyone’s moment may not be perfect and our emotions may be up and down at other times, but we have made the decision to love one another in good times and bad. We realize that emotions cannot always be trusted and so love needs to go beyond that and that is where the decision of the will comes in. We also use the following guidelines: Love is patient, love is kind, and love keeps no record of wrongs… Also if we are in disagreements we try very hard to not say hurtful things to one another. The two of us together is better than just one of us individually. Ones strengths helps the others weaknesses. We support each other and encourage each other. If one of us has a hard day the other is there to cheer them up. We have been and are still each other’s best friend. When we met we became best friends and that did not change after we got married, and I have a feeling it never will change.” The couple who said that has been together for 28 years, and I hope I’ll be able to find something as special as that when I’m much older. Considering that couple has been together for 28 years and my grandparents have been together for 52 years, it amazes me how someone can be so sure they’ve found the ‘one’ within a day or two. I’m not saying that they may not have, but love really is a different experience for every single person and I think that is what makes it so special.
For some reason, this topic really interests me because the concept of love is something widely talked about and appreciated in our world. You see it in movies and television shows, or even when you go for a walk and see people holding hands while walking down the sidewalk. I see constant pictures of love quotes, and songs that express love. Love really is made out to be a special thing and it has been around since the beginning of time.
So this Valentine’s Day, maybe try and examine what love means to you. (Or you can just eat some chocolate because either option is pretty fantastic.) Remember though, that you don’t need love to be happy. Sometimes you can be just as happy being by yourself then with another person, but if you ever consider maybe wanting to be with someone someday, it is not bad to think about it a little just to be prepared. Love really is a unique experience for everyone.