When many people think of love, they think of romantic relationships, hearts, flowers and romance. While I am a sucker for romance, I also have a deep appreciation for the energy of love in its entirety. Love is the one thing in this world that is able to survive through anything. It is the energy that binds the trees in the dirt and pumps blood through the heart. Everything that we do, we do out of love and everything we are is because of love.
A few months ago I read an interesting poem by John Keats titled, On Seeing the Elgin Marbles. Through writing this poem, Keats explained what he felt when he saw the famous sculpture “The Elgin Marbles,” but to many of his readers dismay, he could not fully articulate what he felt. He was simply at a loss for words. In a critic review that I read of Keats poem by Matthew Gumpert the conclusion was reached that, “To be able to say what one feels, following this trope, is proof that one does not feel enough.” This is something that really stuck with me.
I began to think about people that I love the most in this world. I thought about my parents, my siblings, my closest friends, my immediate family, my pets…everything that I hold dear to my heart. I tried to verbalize just how much I loved those things and I felt myself at a loss for words as well. I also went through a similar experience during early August 2019 when I visited home. I was sitting on the ground with my Great Dane Pluto and as we were sitting and I was rubbing his head just the way he likes it, he closes his eyes, nuzzles his head on my lap, and lets out a sigh of relief. I felt that familiar feeling of fullness in my chest and smiled to myself. Then it hit me. Love is when you don’t need to say it.
I said to my dog, “Pluto, I know you love me and you don’t even have to say it.” I know that he knows I love him, even if I don’t say it one-hundred times a day. Just as I know my parents love me even if they don’t say it everyday and so on and so forth. I am all for saying, “I love you,” but lets be honest, that is a very overused phrase that often gets said with little truth behind it. I have had people say that they love me because they get excited and caught up in the moment, but when that moment fades, their actions do not match their words. While I was aware that said people did not love me, the deception of words still messes with the mind sometimes. When someone loves you, you will know it. When you love someone, you will know it.
A distinction that must be made is the difference between being in love and loving someone. I love everyone that has come into my life and everyone that has left it. One thing that I have never felt was being in love with someone and I can say that confidently. I have a feeling that many people jump the gun and tell someone that they love them because they do love them, but usually when someone says “I love you,” and it is a romantic relationship the in love notion is assumed. Love, although heavily normalized, is something that seems to be taboo and scary. Saying “I love you” to someone is seen as a daunting step in a relationship because it holds this imaginary amount of pressure with it. I think that that is all bullshit. Tell everyone you love that you love them, just make sure that you are sure of your words though. To tell someone you love them and then to treat them otherwise is an ill deed that should never be done.
Whether you choose to say “I love you,” or choose to simply show someone you love them by your actions, I believe that it is all equal. Love is neither a contest nor a scale in which things should be judged–love is love. I do believe some love can run deeper for some, because we all have different levels of connection with certain people, but no love is better than the next. I try and live my life by showing everyone love and feeling love for everyone. It is a philosophy that can get very hard to stick to sometimes, especially when people really do a number on my heart, but it is a philosophy that I refuse to separate from. I do feel frustration and anger towards others, don’t get me wrong, but I try to transform that negative energy into positive as swiftly as possible. Sometimes it takes me hours, and other times it has taken me months; but, it is not the time that it takes that is important, it is the intention that is had that matters.
Don’t be afraid to tell someone you love them. Who cares if they don’t say it back? Don’t feel humiliated. Never feel humiliated to express your feelings, especially feelings of love. If you are in love with someone, make that distinction for them. Express your love through your actions, your thoughts, your choices…everything. This life we are given is only so long and what a wonderful life it would be to live it full of love.