It’s … Complicated

I’m feeling, well … feely today. There’s a lot of emotion buzzing around right now, and I am deep in positive emotional support mode.

Love is a complicated emotion.

The human heart (or brain if we’re going for scientific accuracy) has the very impressive capability to love infinitely. This means that we can love an infinite number of people in an infinite number of ways.

For those of you just joining us, I touched on this topic earlier this year with the post, Who Do You Love?, which was sparked by a reading of Carsie Blanton’s post on Casual Love.

As I’ve watched relationships in my own life spark and grow and (sometimes) fizzle out this year, I find my mind returning to this idea again and again. This topic is further sparked by the comic I posted recently: Relationship Diversity.

While love is complicated, it is also a deeply personal, individual, and unique emotion for every person who experiences it. No two individuals in this world are identical, which means that no two people love in identical ways, nor can they be loved in identical ways. Indeed, even a love that is reciprocated cannot be truly identical in its reciprocity, for that amazing human individuality and uniqueness is evident in every aspect of a person’s life.

These days, there is such a stigma on the word love. It seems to be that, in current American culture, to tell someone (not related by blood), “I love you,” is to tell that person, “I am in love with you.”

But there are different kinds of love. The ancient Greeks had specific words for at least four different, very specific, kinds of love (eros, philia, storge, agape) that people feel, and an understanding that the feelings people have for their family, friends, lovers, and others are very much not the same, but they are all still love.

Love is not simple.

Love takes many shapes, manifests itself in unpredictable ways.

Love is a complex, fluid, painful, joyous emotion.

Love is good for you. Loving is good for the heart, the mind, the soul.

Please, do not be afraid to love. You will get hurt. You will love someone who does not (or cannot) reciprocate those feelings.

Love anyway.

Revel in the joy of loving someone, regardless of whether s/he loves you the same way.