12: Should we use the word ‘love’ sparingly?

I have always had a great fondness for people. People bring out my best spirit (and sometimes my worst). I love the kindness, tenacity, and spirit of people, I love their talent and zeal for life. I find something to love in everyone I know; and when I say ‘love’, I actually mean love. My heart swells with joy and I am struck with admiration and respect for them. I never hesitate to tell people when I love something about them. Very often, people are unaware about their own qualities and I like to remind them that they are special. A lot of people have difficulty believing it when they hear their own praise. It’s because they don’t believe those things about themselves and they struggle to figure if I am being genuine in my praise or merely trying to flatter them.

All this changed when I first fell in ‘love’. The experience was so overwhelming for me, that I started questioning every other time I used the word love in my life. The feelings of joy and other emotions associated with it were so intense, that everything else seemed bland and not worthy of that label. It was the kind of selfless love which makes you cherish everything about the person, the good and the bad, and prompts you to be a better version of yourself. I decided then that I would not use the word ‘love’ for anyone, unless I come close to experiencing similar emotions. In doing so, I was also trying to ensure that, that one particular love remained special. I wanted to give that relationship its rightful place in my life, the highest one, so I demoted every other one in my life. I would proudly say, I love only a few people in my life also meaning my love is rare, cherish it. But, reality does not always play out as we like and things do not always remain the same, so when the dust settled on the ‘one love’, I found myself at a place where I felt that I wouldn’t ever be capable of producing love for anyone else. Everything from here on would just be a game of charade and pretence.

But, I was wrong. All this while, it was I who was stopping myself from finding joy in the world and people. The world never ceased to exist and be beautiful, it was I who was looking the other way. The moment I let myself fall freely in love with anybody and everybody, I gradually started to fall in love with the world again. I thought I had just one heart to give to the person who deserved it the most. It turns out, I had a thousand more from where the first one came from. The more I give it away, the more I feel complete.

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