I get it now. Finally.
Love is scary.
I think there are a few reasons for that.
Let’s start with the word itself, sandwiched between pronouns. No matter what language you say it in, it commands attention in the simplest grammatical structure: subject, verb, object.
I love you. Te amo. Ich liebe dich. Je t’aime. Ich hou van jou. S’agapo. Ti amo…even I-ay ove-lay ou-yay.
It is usually uttered, and of course is best delivered, along with direct eye contact. This eye contact draws one in, seeks the other’s soul, and makes a deal.
In my experience, I believe there are various degrees of love.
The strongest degree is the bond that joins us all; joins us as one human being and one soul to the next.
Jesus told us this; He taught us this; He emulated this. And his actions were forever bound in the most profound acclamation in the Bible:
Better yet, Christians, and dare I say all humans on this earth, are bound by that. If they don’t feel they are, than I propose that they should be.
Between people, and removing the chaos of the effect of romance on the concept of ‘love’, think about how many different relationships you have in your life that inspire love, with effort and without.
- Parents to children
- Children to parents (sometimes!)
- Family members to other family members (again, sometimes!)
- Friends to friends.
I believe that each of these type of relationship embodies love in some form.
Love in the form of a commitment, a bond, a promise, an understanding, a freedom, a compassion, an empathy, a sympathy, a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand, a listening ear, a hug.
This scary word called ‘love’ that traverses all languages and cultures binds us together by the power of the physical connection made in eye contact and it penetrates our souls.
All of this analysis does not make love less scary.
And, it makes it even scarier when applied to romance. I believe it is scary not so much because of the commitment, or the bond, or the promise….
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah….
I think ‘love’, within the construct of a romantic relationship, is scary because the commitment is inexorably connected to expectations. And, expectations contained within the realm of two individuals, is difficult to identify, much less label and address.
Wherever there is a situation with untenable or indefinable expectations, tied to a commitment that is expected (there’s that word again) to last forever, or at least a really long time, and to deliver the elements of one’s dream or fantasies…this is a recipe for defeat, hurt, resentment.
No wonder so many fear saying the ‘L’-word.
I guess what I’m saying is that the word ‘love’ is either used too loosely, or too concretely. Too loosely and it can’t be identified; too concretely and it can’t grow.
I choose to love the spirit inside of people, as opposed to loving a person just because of a specific type of relationship I have with them. When I say I love you, it is because I love you as a person, not because of what you can do for me or what you are to me.
Sadly though, the ‘L’-word still gets misinterpreted by those who don’t see it the way I do, which puts me into a quandary: To say “I love you” …or not.
The choice is up to me, ultimately. In the past, like the proverbial bull in the china shop, I have uttered the ‘L’-word the minute I feel it, with both positive and negative results.
But, as a consequence of those negative results, I am learning that it is best to keep the word to myself and express my love in the actions I choose to take, then hope that the message is clear.
Actions, not words.
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