Photo used with permission from Creative Commons and flicker user Camdiluv

Photo used with permission from Creative Commons and flicker user Camdiluv

Hello again readers. In every one of my columns, you’ll find the word love or some variation of it at least 20 times. It’s not my fault; the word is unavoidable. Whether through songs on the radio, movies, advertisements or that one friend whose always expressing their strong feelings towards Chipotle, it’s clear that love is everywhere. It’s humankind’s constant and unfaltering obsession. We love love. And, in most cases, we are all hopeful that one day we will find a special love of our own—the kind that inspires Adele to sing power ballads and Nicholas Sparks to write masterpieces. At the young and naïve age of 20, I’ve had a couple brushes of my own with love. There was middle school puppy love, Ryan Gosling love (not my proudest time) and then, of course, real love. All I can tell you is that all love is definitely not created equal.

The word love has always come with a positive connotation. When you hear McDonald’s sing to you “I’m lovin’ it,” you usually don’t picture having a screaming match with a cheeseburger and then later having persistent feelings of resentment towards it (though maybe you should, considering the calories). However, I’m a strong believer in there being such a thing as “bad love.” Think Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan in the “Love The Way You Lie” video, but less fire. You love this person, yes. But the love has hit a point where it is no longer healthy for either of you. The fighting is constant, and you spend more of your time being angry or depressed rather than happy. Despite these non-optimal life conditions, you stay in the relationship because of the “love.” It becomes an addiction—an addiction that sucks away your vitality and transforms you into an angry, vindictive version of your former self.

On the other hand, “good love,” though harder to find, is fully achievable. Your partner brings out the best in you. They do not push you, they do not control you; they simply inspire you to be the best version possible version of yourself.  I’ve been in a relationship where I suddenly found that even my life outside of this person was improving. I was a better student, I developed stronger friendships, and I was even more appreciative and caring towards my parents.  Don’t get me wrong; no relationship is perfect. There will always be fights. But within a healthy relationship, both of you are willing to look at yourselves, admit your mistakes and compromise. “Good love” is essentially a healthy love, one that has the capability to enrich your whole life.

The problem with everyone’s obsession with love is that we’ve been conditioned to hold on to it once we find it. In reality, there are cases where love just isn’t worth it. There comes a point where love becomes a very negative force—where love becomes essentially “bad.” And that is when you have to learn to let it go. Letting go of love is one of the hardest things one will ever have to do, but it’s times like that when you must believe in the existence of “good love”—a love with the capability to change your life in the most positive way possible. All in all, when you learn to stop generalizing love and accept the many dimensions and meanings of the abstract concept, you increase your chance of actually finding it. Not a love like Noah and Allie or a love like the one that inspired Shakespeare’s sonnets, but a love of your very own.

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