Resolving to “Love” Less

Friends-Hugging

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a pretty complex person. (I AM a woman, after all. Being hard to figure out is in my job description, right?) One thing that’s easy to figure out about me, though, is that I’m a lover of life and most of the things in it. I’m an eternal optimist and encourager, and trust me, I am NOT afraid to let people know it. My conversations usually turn out like this: Oh, you got a new shirt? “I LOVE that color on you.” You want to know what I thought of the new “Hunger Games” movie? “I loved it! Jennifer Lawrence? #goals.” What’s my go-to drink at the campus coffee shop? “I seriously LOVE the Mele Kaliki Mocha. Whoever thought of mixing chocolate, coffee, and coconut is a genius.” Oh, look! My best friend is walking this way! “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.” Are you noticing a trend here? Because I’m starting to. While I’m being genuine in my love for these things, I can’t help but wonder if the fact that I say it all the time makes it start to lose its meaning. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I don’t ever want my friends and family to think that my enjoyment of coffee could even begin to measure up to the love that I have for them (although it might be debatable when I’m waking up for my early morning classes). The new year is quickly approaching, and while I don’t normally make a New Year’s resolution, I think that I’ve finally found a reason to do so. I’m resolving to “love” less in 2016. Before you think of me as a horrible, heartless person who is anything BUT encouraging and optimistic, let me explain what I mean…

The English language is absolutely beautiful, and we have lots of different ways to say what we think and feel… Except when it comes to the word “love”. I’ve studied a bit of Greek in the past, and one thing that I appreciate and admire about the language is that it has different words to distinguish between different types of love. “Eros” is used for passionate, romantic love, “philia” refers to the deep love shared between family and close friends, “ludus” is the kind of playful love present in bantering or flirting, “agape” describes a radical, selfless love for all people, whether they are complete strangers or family members, “pragma” means longstanding love that implies a level of commitment found in married couples or lifelong friends, and “philautia” encompasses a healthy kind of self-love, a sort of self-assuredness that enables us to love others well. In a society where we’re quick to declare our undying love for our favorite celebrity, our go-to comfort food, and our significant other all in the same breath, I definitely wish that we had a clearer way to express ourselves in English.

But what if I DO have other ways to show my feelings of affection or enjoyment without constantly throwing around the word “love”? What if I decided to show my feelings of fondness by going out of my way to be kind to others and to talk about my emotions and opinions in more unique ways? Oh, you got a new shirt? “Wow, it looks amazing on you! It really makes your eyes pop. Where’d you get it?” You want to know what I thought about the new “Hunger Games” movie? “I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, and Jennifer Lawrence gave a flawless performance as always. Are you Team Gale or Team Peeta?” What’s my go-to drink at the campus coffee shop? “I’m obsessed with the Mele Kaliki Mocha right now, but I should probably branch out and try something new! What’s your favorite?” Oh, look! My best friend is walking this way! “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH (for real). How’s your day going?” It makes such an impact when we take the time to get to know others on a deeper level by asking them questions. Besides, we have the whole of the English language at our disposal, so why not use it? Love is so much more than an overused word. It’s a way of life, and this coming year, I’m resolving to prove it.

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