Those Three Words

here is an apparent thoughtless ease with which we say these three words that convey one’s affection for another. It has become thoughtless because more often than not, we do not usually think about the true meaning of the words before uttering them.

Let us begin by considering the last word ‘you.’ Can we claim that we truly know the person whom we say we love? Have we actually made a conscious effort to understand the individual to whom we are professing our feelings? Do we accept the totality of the individual’s identity, history, strengths, weaknesses, traits and flaws? Or are we merely infatuated with the person’s attractive appearance? Do we only choose to love certain aspects of the individual, a mere fraction or percentage of the entirety of his or her being and reject the rest?

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By uttering the first word ‘I,’ we are in effect declaring that we know ourselves and that this self awareness is complete. It entails a clarity of one’s self image, an understanding of one’s personality and motivations and an acceptance of one’s self. It implies a will to determine one’s path and the absence of confusion. By using this word, we implicitly commit the entirety of our being and the very essence and nature of our individuality to the statement that follows.

The word in the middle of this sentence is the most profound of all. To use the term ‘love’ does not merely entail an expression of an emotion. This verb declares an action in a present and continuing sense. It signifies not only one’s affection, but also a desire to do and give what is necessary as well as the commitment to fulfill it. This word implies a recognition of the need to seek the happiness of the other person. It states an unequivocal willingness to make sacrifices, to pursue what is good for that person and to avoid causing that individual pain.