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When the word "love" becomes meaningless

Love. It's a word we throw around to our best girl friends, and even our best guy friends. A word that's part of a phrase that so effortlessly slips off our tongues, meaninglessly. We grow up saying, "I love you" to our parents and family. Then, as we grow older we meet a friend-of-a-friend out during a drunken escapade and by the end of the night we are professing, "Girl I love you!" to a complete stranger. We say "I love you" to our first boyfriends at the age of fifteen because well, that's what you do.

Love. An overused word that our generation has turned into the most meaningless word, most accompanied by an even more meaningless phrase. Do we even know what it's like to love someone? Or what it's like to be in love, or the difference between loving someone and being in love? At the age of twenty-five I can honestly say I've been in love. I've loved, fallen in love and fallen out of love. I've experienced absolute heartbreak and absolute joy. That's what love does. Love makes deceit that much worse. It makes joy even better. It amplifies your feelings. If you didn't love someone, you wouldn't care and their actions wouldn't affect you.

Love is selfless. Yet the worst type of love is the kind of love that you don't get in return. It's when you selflessly love someone and they barely blink an eye at your existence. To love someone is to put someone else's needs and wants before your own. It's when you care more about someone else's happiness than you do your own. When that love is a one-sided love, it is toxic. If a relationship exists with a one-sided love it will never work. However when two people equally love each other, and equally want what's best for the other person - that's real love.

Although I've been in love and have loved with my whole heart, I've never had that love in return. I've been told "I love you," countless times by various guys - none of which actually loved me. I've never felt special and never had someone put my needs before his own. I often wonder why, but then I realize that once I find that mutual selfless love, that person will consist of my future, and not my past. A mutual love is the kind of love that can last a lifetime.

I walk around with a stone face and act like nothing bothers me. I try to pretend that my genetics that make me a woman can be ignored and that I can have no feelings. That I can love and not be loved back. But shouldn't everyone get that hopeless romantic fairytale? To be special to someone? (One would hope!)

I've learned that with age men will change. I've known some guys for years who went through college treating girls like most guys treat me - that is until they meet the one. The one woman, who makes them change, makes them mature and want to be a man. Love changes people, whether they want it to or not.

The point is that this generation needs to reevaluate the meaning and use of the word love and the phrase "I love you." When someone loves you, they don't have to say it, because you'd know it already. Their actions will show you the love they have for you.

So what's it like to love and be loved? Once it happens, I'll let you know.