Life is so funny, sometimes.
Just when you think you know where it is going, where you are headed, just when you think you have pretty much tapped out your emotional resources, you find that you have like, an extra tank somewhere. Or something. Maybe even several.
I always smirked (in my head, of course) at people who proclaimed that they were in love, yet again. When I’d heard it from them a million times before (or at least, three or four), I tended to think cynical thoughts to myself regarding said person’s ability to differentiate between love, and like, and simple lust. I mean, who ever heard of loving more than one person in their lives?
I’ll pause a minute to let the full on sarcasm of that last statement sink in so it’s nice and clear that I’m speaking with my tongue most firmly planted in my cheek.
I’ve been thinking lately that there is no greater blessing in life than to love as many people as possible. Why impose limits like, “People really should only fall in love once in their lifetimes” or “Anyone who’s been ‘in love’ more than once doesn’t know what love really is.”
You know what I think? I think the ones that have fallen in love more than once are the only ones that really *do* know what love really is.
Love is not about limitations or restrictions or counting the number of times you say it. It’s not about whether the object of your affection even loves you back, really. It’s about a feeling *you* have for someone else that leads you to want to be around them, to support them, to do things for them, to let them be who they are, and love them for it. Why would it matter how many people in your life that you feel those things for?
I love my son. I love my family. I love my boyfriend. I love my friends. I even love my Dog and Cat. That’s a lot of love for a lot of people. I’ve loved other people in my life too, like ex-boyfriends, ex-husband, friends that I don’t talk to anymore. It seems to me that my attitude about counting the number of relationships I’ve been in where I said “I Love You” is really just a way of limiting myself to a certain self-imposed, “acceptable” number of times that I’ve felt love for another human being. Why does it matter? Do any of you care? Does it seem to you guys that if I’ve said “I love you” to only one person then I’m a better judge of emotional content than if I’d said it to ten people?
Love is a word used pretty loosely (as pointed out in a really good blog of T.Brad’s recently). I do agree that it’s used casually, as in “I love this band” or “I love your outfit” or “I love Miracle Whip” (that last one could just be me, I understand). My point is, that people use the word “love” pretty casually when it comes to things. Outfits, types of food, music, etc.
When it comes to people…I think the only caveat to saying it is, do you beleive that you mean it? The first time you say it to someone, did you say it because you just thought you should? Or because the words were poised on the tip of your tongue, wiggling with anticipation, just waiting for your lips to open so they could leap out and into the air between you two? Did saying it make your heart swell up so big it almost hurt? Did it seem like if you didn’t say it, you’d regret it for the rest of your life?
That’s how I feel when I say I love you to someone. Sure, I say stuff like “I love Miracle Whip”. (Don’t judge. I’m Canadian.) But when I say it to someone, looking in their eyes and saying it, out loud, with a kiss or a hug or even just a squeeze of the hand, it’s because I mean it. With everything in my heart. Saying it makes me feel bigger, better, more alive, more connected, than if I counted the number of times I’d said it like a miser counting out every last little piece of gold before locking it back up in the chest that he shoves back under the bed instead of sharing it with the people he cares about.
It makes me feel good.
So don’t be ashamed to tell someone that you love them. Say it without expectation. Without thinking about how vulnerable it makes you, or whether they will think you’re sincere or whether this means that you have to revise your mental count of how many times you’ve said it. Just say it, because it doesn’t matter if they love you back. What matters is, to just about anyone, saying those words means a lot. More than you know. And it never wears out, and it never goes stale, and it only gets bigger the more it’s used. It doesn’t make you more vulnerable, it makes you stronger, more alive, more connected to the world around you.
At least, *I* think so. And since this is my blog, I feel comfortable with it.