"When was the last time that they heard you say, Mother or Father I love you and when was the last time that they heard you say, daughter or son I love you."
That was a line from the incomparable Stevie Wonder, a song called These Three Words. These words are so precious but so often misused. Too often we use the phrase "I love you" as a means to an end, a selfish end at that. Too often we use this phrase to manipulate or to get what we want, I once wrote "saying I love you means nothing nowadays, niggas just say it so they can go and get laid, ladies believing it knowing they heart is getting played, acting so gullible, its a damn shame." This came from a conversation I had with a girl in college who couldn't understand why none of her relationships worked out, it always ended the same, guy gets what he wants and then she gets heartbroken. It seems she equated love with sex and as soon as a guy even showed the remote possiblity that he was interested she was ready, willing and able to put it mildly. My point is our view of love varies depending on the situation.
We often use love as a situational emotion, meaning depending on how we think we feel in a particular moment we may choose to use love. For instance, we often say I love you in times of despair such as a loved one passing or having a serious accident, we use I love you as a comforting phrase because we often feel guilty of not saying it enough or showing it enough. Or if we receive a gift from a loved one especially an expensive gift. Its as if the bigger the gift the more I love you. Now I'm not saying that every situation we say I love you in is disingenuous I'm just saying we don't use the act of loving enough.
Most people relate and recognize love in the realms of a romantic relationship. We've been programmed to view love as a romantic, sexual feeling. Just look in the world around us. From love songs to romantic comedies to romance novels, to these "reality" shows that sell sex, the idea that beauty is superficial, and that love means getting something in return and its easy to see that we've lost the identity of love. In my opinion we get too caught up that love is something aesthetic when love is all around us. In order to change our perception of love we've got to change our definition of love. If we perceive love as only something we can touch then we treat it as such. We've got to come to a higher understanding of what love is and what it isn't. To me love is everything, its the energy around us, its the man on the street, its the kids playing, its the birds in the sky. We have to expand our horizon on love and the effect it has on everything around us. If we can change how we define love then it can begin to work more authentically in our lives. Things would be less stressful and we would be more in tune with life, which would help us lead a more fulfilling life.
Don't take for granted that love is all around us and don't take loved ones for granted either. Let's gain a higher understanding of what love is and what it isn't. Agape.