When loving yourself isn’t enough

Appreciation is an odd feeling. Sometimes we feel it right away, thankful for those around us. Sometimes we ignore it, Polyamory_-by-Matthew-Bobbu_300pretending we don’t care. But oftentimes, appreciation is taken for granted.

It’s easy to assume that those you love the most will always be there. It’s easy to think that they’ll love you enough to always be there for you. But the fickle thing about humans is that the person we love the most is ourselves. I often read so-called advice columns on places like Buzzfeed, Thought Catalog and Elite Daily that say Millennials need to love themselves before they can love others. And like anything, there’s truth in that. But there comes a time when loving yourself isn’t enough.

Thousands of articles have been written about Millennials and our so-called aversion to relationships and commitment. But how can a generation learn to love when they themselves have never been loved? Instead, we’ve been taught to fear the pain that comes with love. We’ve been conditioned to think that love can only be one thing: a romantic fantasy that lives in a castle in the clouds. Is it any wonder Millennials have given up on love?

The ancient Greeks had four words for love; agápeérosphilía, and storgē. They understood that love had different phases and meanings and the same feelings could be felt for many. Love wasn’t just one thing reserved for one person. In the English language, there is one word and millions of interpretations of the word love. It’s the one thing every human being needs yet it’s become the hardest thing to understand.

Millennials have been taught that our love must be saved for one person and that if we fall in love, they must be “the one.” So what happens when you love more then one person? We feel cheated, like our hearts are deceiving ourselves. But it never occurs to us that we can in fact be in love with two people and that there is nothing wrong with that. Nor do we consider the fact that our love for one person can be the same, regardless of any love we might have for others.

Love isn’t just sexual desire between two people. Love is a way of telling someone you appreciate them for who they are and that being around them makes you happy. It’s time for Millennials to take back love and to see it not as a fantasy or a selfish act, but for what it is: an appreciation of the people in your life.

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