How We Are All Responsible For Making 'I Love You' Completely Meaningless

by Paul Hudson

Language is a fascinating thing. Without it, the world would not be what it is today. It’s thanks to our ability to communicate with one another on such an advanced level that we were able to corroborate and build human civilization as we know it. Have you ever stopped to consider exactly how complex language is?

Of course, I can’t speak for all languages because I can’t speak all languages. Nevertheless, I am willing to bet that most – if not all – have a similar, if not equal, level of complexity.

Although language and the words that make it up are not breathing, they are nonetheless living. We give them life by speaking, communicating, and overtime tweaking their meanings. New words are born each year and old ones are reborn to have entirely new meaning.

Our generation is especially talented at giving slang meaning to already existing words – I’m sure you can all think of at least a dozen or so examples. What our generation – Generation-Y – is not very good at, on the other hand, is giving certain words the respect they deserve. We like to take ownership of words and, for this reason, many of them lose their meaning within a society.

Take, for example, the word "love." We used to only love each other – and only a select few. Nowadays we not only love the most important people in our lives, we love those jeans, that dress, that car. We love the weather and that genre of music. We love a lot of things that are lifeless, which is pretty odd in itself if you think about it. But what worries me most is how freely we say "I love you."

Our generation has become numb to the word "love." We hear it so often that it is beginning to lose meaning entirely. Aside from the objects that we "love," we also "love" a lot of people we loathe. Well, we clearly don’t love such people, but we often tell them that we do… so what’s the difference? Language is communicating information.

Whether they are lies or not does not matter. The fact that we are using the word "love" to mean the exact opposite of love degrades the word’s meaning. This may all seem harmless, but consider the implications when it is time to say the most frightening combination of three words known to man: "I love you."

Saying "I love you" or being on the receiving end has always been a scary thing – it’s an extremely loaded saying. Or, at least, it was. Now you can’t really be sure what "I love you" means. I was never one to use the word "love" freely – not in conversation or via any other means of communication.

To me the word "love" must be used sparingly in order to continue to hold meaning. Unfortunately, I’m one of few. Being told that you are loved once meant that you were the one – the one person whom the other has been searching for, for oh so very long. Now… now you don’t know if that is the case or one of a million other possibilities.

Maybe this person loves you in the traditional sense. Maybe he or she "loves" you because that’s what you want to hear. Maybe it's "love" because this person likes you a lot and believed it is a fitting word to use. I mean, if this person loved the cheeseburger he or she just scarfed down, how could that person not love someone he or she has been seeing for over a year?

If we are all searching for love in our lives, then what could be more horrible than giving someone false hope? To you, it’s just three words. To that person, it’s the future. Thankfully, as human beings we have other ways of letting people know that we love them – our actions. That is the only one remaining way of being certain whether or not a person truly loves you.

The only remaining question is: how do we show someone that we love them? This, thankfully, is a simpler matter. The only thing it really requires is selflessness. If you can’t put the other’s needs ahead of yours than at least you know that what you are feeling isn’t truly love. Hopefully, you’ll be kind enough to avoid using those three magical words.

To love isn’t to tell someone you love him or her. It’s when that persons knows you love him or her before you can even be certain yourself. It’s being there for that person whenever he or she needs you and at times when he or she doesn’t need you. It’s living your life for your partner because you believe that he or she deserves happiness more than you do.

It’s making sacrifices for your partner because you consider his or her happiness to be paramount. To love is to lose yourself in another person, forgetting where you end and he or she begins; it’s the fusion of identity. It’s losing your drive to want because that person is the only thing you believe that you need.

Love needs no words. Remember that the next time you’re confused or find yourself being duped. If that person loves you, you’ll know. No words necessary.

Photo via We Heart It

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