My friend once told me that there are seven different kinds of words in the Persian language , to express the feeling of love (I’m still working on verifying the accuracy of this statement!). She told me this as we proceeded to listen to Sufjan Steven’s album ‘Michigan’.
Lost in his almost haunting yet soothing music, I couldn’t help but wonder how much easier it would be to express a connection towards someone/something more precisely if we had numerous words for the different feelings of ‘love’.
The warmth, the connection, the feeling of security, the inexplicable pull towards a person or a thing can hardly all be summed up in one little two syllable word.
Try using the word in a different context or in a sticky situation and you might be giving off a completely different idea about how you feel! (“I love dogs” – What I really mean is that I appreciate them in the virtual world- I like dog memes, dog on the iPhone, dog gifs but I will not be caught dead petting one because of my fear of everything fur and feather!). Think about the love between Hermione and Harry, they loved each other immensely, deeply but did this emotion have anything for Ron to worry about? perhaps never.
To express loving a friend, loving a parent and loving Taco Bell logically shouldn’t use the same affect word.
Sometimes we’re so bound by the dictionary and the social definition of love that we’re too afraid to use it, let alone show it. All of four letters yet expected to encapsulate a sea of emotions, this little word has us more wary than comforted.
I wonder if linguists and psychologists could come together to sort out the feelings of love and give each unique feeling a new name. Wouldn’t it be easier to emote ourselves without the fear of judgment, rebuke or misunderstanding?! Maybe each human connection/relationship could be better sorted, expectations clearer and possibly the bond itself stronger?
In our quest to find love perhaps we first ought to define love. To define love as uniquely as the experience we want to have when we find it.