OPINION: We need more of the right kind of love

Photo courtesy of ISA Paper | Staff Writer Emily Price discusses what she considers to be appropriate and inappropriate usage of the word “love.”

Love is essential. However, the word itself is often thrown around with little attention to its meaning. As our control of the world seems to dwindle, we feel a natural desire to look for the love in everything that happens, but this has caused an overuse of the word “love” and a dissolving of its true definition.

I agree that the need for love is great. With the increase of mass shootings, knowledge of sexual abuse and strong discourse within politics, it is crucial that love remains at the root of all that we do, good or bad. However, for this to be effective, we must be conscious of what saying it means.

As a 15-year-old, I remember telling a boy I loved him a mere two weeks into the relationship. I later realized that what I was feeling was not love, it was a mix of pressure and excitement. As a 17-year-old, I told a boy I loved him two months into the relationship. The love in that case has remained and grown ever since because I took time to understand what I was feeling.

While this pressure is a key problem in romantic relationships, it is even more problematic in friendships, mentorships and, most visibly, partnerships within social or political sphere.

In my experience, the pressure to say the word “love” in friendships is much greater than in romantic relationships. Social influences teach us that to be a good or valuable person, we each must have a plethora of friends who like and want to spend time with us.

Within disagreements and issues of a social or political nature, love may be much less obvious. In these types of relationships, it comes in the forms of support and respect. Whether we agree or disagree with a person’s point of view, an understanding of where they came from and a respect for what they have gone through are imperative. An argument doesn’t require an attack on the person who disagrees with you, it requires an evaluation of the beliefs the person holds. No argument or amount of discourse can be solved without a basic respect for the issue and the people on the other side. Therefore, we cannot succeed as a society or within our communities if we do not love in this way.

When we use it not as a necessity but as a filler, it taints the meaning and the relationship as well. This misuse, as most of us experience, often happens because we feel a pressure or eagerness to say we love someone in a relationship or because we think we do, but there is a lack of evidence to support it. It also happens in a similar way when there is a longing for a connection that is not there. When you meet someone whom you share a bond with, it is easy to get caught up in the instantaneous connection and forget that you just met. While it may feel like love, it is always important to think about it more before saying that it is. Doing so will ensure the preservation of its importance and the decrease of regrets tied to it.

Saying “love” brings gravity and intimacy into any situation. It implies a deep affection for someone or something and entails a connection that surpasses most obstacles. However, no matter the nature of the relationship, speaking of love can instill fear and pressure. This is not the intention. Love is meant to instill confidence and warmth. Therefore, I call for hesitance.

Love is essential, and for it to remain so, we must use it properly, with purpose, knowledge and care. To ensure appropriate use of such an important word, we must each take time to think about its meaning before we announce it.

Emily Price is a first-year psychology major and staff writer for the Newswire from Miamisburg, Ohio.