I think I have a hard time actually defining love because there are so many different forms of love in my life.  There’s the actual emotional attachment kind of love.  “I love my friends.  I love my family.  I love my pets.”  Then there’s the kind of love that hits me when I see a particular artwork, read a certain book, or learn a new word.  “I love that picture.  I love The Solitude of Prime Numbers.  I love the word twain.  I love seeing signs for ‘Ye Olde Tea Shoppe,’ and knowing that the word ye in this case is really from the habitual poor handwriting of the in manuscripts.”  There’s a love of places (“I love Gustavus.  I love London.”) and the love of vague concepts (“I love the color green.  I love language.  I love peace.”).

My question is concerning that word, love.  We use it so frequently for mundane things like an amazing feat in a video game or the way a barista pours the steamed milk into a latte, but really, shouldn’t it be reserved for big, important declarations and when we actually mean we bear either a familial love or a passionate love for someone and have deep emotions for that person or animal?  It takes so long to say that word in a relationship, but it’s taken for granted in everyday life.  How did love evolve to describe appreciation for an experience or everyday object and the deeply-rooted emotions for others?

I try very hard to use the words love and hate when I really mean them.  I do love the things mentioned above (except for the video game thing, though I did hear it used in that way today), and my passion is there.  However, I wouldn’t necessarily kiss my copy of the Aeneid or my favorite bottle of perfume.  On the other hand, I find it harder to say I hate a person.  I’ve only said it once because, though the person in question is a political figure and I didn’t know that person personally, I found that person’s abuse and cruel executions of animals to be barbaric.  Yep, I hate ***** *****.  I don’t think I know anyone else I actually hate.  Sure, I hate missing the bus or finding my milk spoilt, or hearing a riiiippp when I’m wearing one of my favorite tops, but everyone seems to “hate” those things.

I think the difference is that we know we’re supposed to love our parents and we grow to actually love our friends and romantic partners.  After witnessing behavior or going through a breakup, we may hate others.  However, I think our subconscious understands that those two words are powerful, and we are held back from using them in reference to people too often.  I really appreciate when I realize the moment I love someone, and likewise loathe acknowledging when I hate someone, so I’m glad somehow I know when love or hate is true.  When dealing with emotions like that, I hope I always know what vocabulary to use and listen to my heart.

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