This is something that’s always been on my mind, and while I’ve engaged in conversations with friends of mine about this topic and received multiple perspectives on this, I’ve come to a conclusion on what this four letter word means to me. Ideally, my intention is for this to be a conversation.
Experience is life’s best teacher, and the more experiences you have stored, the more you can start to understand your surroundings and life itself. I want to talk on the word LOVE, mainly in a relationship context, because I think it is a word that is vastly misinterpreted; to the point that its value becomes jaded the more it is used.
Why does this word draw a variety of emotions out of people? Why have we felt the need to put an ambiguous time-frame on when it’s acceptable to say this word to someone? If time is such a societal determiner for when we can say the ‘L’ word, why can we feel like we LOVE someone off first interaction? But also, why can we find ourselves falling out of LOVE just as quickly as we can fall into it?
My conversation opened up with my friends over a few drinks. I talked to them about some of the feelings I have when I interact with certain women. I told them my skeptical views on how society has a kind of skewed interpretation on how we react and perceive the word LOVE. Quite frankly, when I’ve asked people to define their idea of LOVE to me, most of the time I will get a pretty generic and physical answer. Something like: “LOVE is just that feeling you get when you’re around someone; it’s hard to explain but you just know it’s right.”
The first thing we notice about anyone in this world is the physical. We process that before anything else. If we haven’t met our preconceived expectations or “type”(which, thankfully, media plays a huge role in this. That is sarcasm..) of a person’s desired expectation in an individual, then we simply pass it off and move to the next until we eventually accomplish what we’re looking for.
The dating apps like Tinder and Bumble are prime examples of this. We go into the app looking to find/meet the expectations of the person we want based off of our exposure to our preconceived preferences, and what that translates to is looks first. Shallow, yes, but I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t the reality. The same could be said for in-person interactions too. And this is fine so long as you realize that those physical characteristics are not what make a relationship last.
I mentioned the media playing a role in our expectations. Movies, blog articles and even music are influencers on our ideas of the word LOVE and our feelings. It’s a complex topic to discuss so we look for anything mutual within the world we live in to fall back on when we may not be able to comprehend or articulate what we want to say ourselves. This is good and bad.
Good because we are able to find commonalities between another’s thought process; bad because we’re spoon-fed ideas and pretty much taking the hard part of understanding our feelings for ourselves out of the equation.
There’s been times I’ve looked at girls and on a surface level have been attracted to certain ones, but I always take it a step further and ask myself if I could see me making the effort to sustain any sort of substantial relationship with them and have it last in the long run.
I believe we put precedence on the word because at the end of the day, most people just don’t like to be alone and we like the idea of being secure. So we feel that we need to say this word LOVE because we know that it can alter perspectives and also give us another sense of importance.
The idea of being alone is uncomfortable. We know that LOVE is one of the most powerful words in any language to date and when it is said it almost provides this type of solace because I guess we see that our feeling of being alone is no more; we mean something to someone. Even though it could be used in a context that is filling a void for an immediate interval. But really, in reality, we’re not even sure if being alone is actually a bad thing to begin with in the first place.
People genuinely like attention. We all love some form of affection. And since there is such an array of ways where we can achieve that need, with all these different forms of social media, it helps us cope with not being as alone as we think. I think some of the greatest time spent is time spent with yourself and in your mind because we are forced to think about things and your comprehension is the only answer. No other influences.
If I told you I dated someone because it was convenient, would you believe me? Well I have. You know what that’s called? That’s called being safe. Whatever is safe will always be appealing. I’ve fallen victim to this mentality at times, but I’d be lying again if I told you I don’t try and step out of that comfort zone. Do people settle sometimes in relationships? I’m not sure. Do a lot of people know what they’re looking for out of a relationship? I would say I’m not sure again. Reason being is not that I don’t believe in relationships, but more so that I think society jumps into commitments faster than I think they are actually ready for it.
In the US, there is one divorce for every 36 seconds. That is almost 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week and 876,000 divorces a year. The divorce rate for our society is 40-50% of the population for first time marriages and gets higher when people remarry. That’s wild to me. How can that be if we knew we loved these people before getting into one of the biggest commitments of your life? I understand the narrative of circumstances changing and all of that, but the point being made is that through thick and thin, when you tie that knot, this is a commitment you and your partner have made to one another that this is it. That’s LOVE, right? When you tell someone you LOVE them what are you really saying?
My translation of LOVE, or what I would want LOVE to mean for me, is this: LOVE is an emotion behind unprecedented effort; to which you can come to terms in your mind that you’re willing to go above and beyond for someone at any time. When you’re ready to drop everything you’re doing at the moment to interact and be with them. An idea where you’d be willing to sacrifice your happiness just so that they can be happy. To want to provide for them even when they are entirely capable of doing so themselves. To know that all of this is something you can do for someone consistently and it not even cross your mind. It is the foundation of effort. People LOVE each other when they mutually decide to put in the effort day in and day out. People fall out of LOVE when they simply realize that the desire to reciprocate the effort is no longer… effortless.
The question we should ask ourselves is are we loving someone because there is a void we’re filling in our life? If so, then we will never truly find that happiness we’re seeking because it is being replaced with a short term gratification of relying on someone else. Or, are we in LOVE with someone because we acknowledge our own happiness and are looking to enhance their life even though they may be completely comfortable with the circumstances of their own life?
This podcast was recorded on the Saturday before UNC and Duke basketball played their rematch. One of us is a Tar Heel, the other...