In the Spanish language, there are three different ways of saying you love something/someone. When discussing something you love, you say, “Me encanta!” (Literally, “It enchants me!”). When you want to say “I love you” to a friend, you say, “Te quiero!” (Literally, “I want you” but it doesn’t mean the same thing… obviously…). When you want to say “I love you” to your romantic other, you say, “Te amo!” (Literally, “I love you.”) I like that. I like the fact that there is a distinction between loving hamburgers and loving my significant other. In English, we’re not so lucky. We have one word to describe so many different emotions: the feeling we have when we see an adorable scarf in the window of Zara, the feeling we have when we see our best friend, the feeling we have when we see our significant other… oh wait, that’s right, the “feeling” we have when we see our significant other REALLY ISN’T LOVE!!!
Hollywood has done a fantastic job of making love out to be something you make and then something you break. In today’s culture, love is a tingly feeling in your stomach, a feeling that makes your head feel fuzzy and your heart rate fluctuate. Love is shivers up and down your spine and nervous energy. Sorry, Justin and Selena; you and the rest of your Hollywood lovebirds don’t know the first thing about love.
True story: my parents have been married for twenty years. They still hold hands when they go out, they kiss each other in the kitchen and gross us out; my dad holds my mom’s hand when he drives and kisses it at every single red light. TMI? Maybe, but here’s the skinny: my parents argue, sure, but they have told us kids on multiple occassions that they wake up in the mornings and make a conscious decision to LOVE EACH OTHER. See, love isn’t an emotion. The emotion is called enfatuation. And the problem with enfatuation is that, oh dear, it dies pretty quickly. Love, however, is a decision. Love is something you decide to do, for rich or for poor, for better or for worse. But that takes work, something a lot of people don’t want to put up with. I mean, why bother when you can have a little hey-hey and then call it a day?
So, teenage life: I am going to promise each and every high schooler reading this that your relationship is not one built on love. I am totally OK making that bet because I am certain it is true (well, at least 95% true… so, if you think you’re one of the 5% that DOES have real love, then leave a comment and let us know why!). The relationships people have in high school – and, hey, I’m guilty of one as well!- are based on attraction, which is not a bad thing! Attraction is normal and, hey, it’s pretty fun. Dating is not a bad thing, flirting is not a bad thing. But here’s the deal: please, young people, don’t go around saying you’re in love. Because, chances are, you aren’t. Stop overusing the word “love,” and let’s revolutionize pop culture.


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