So, what do the words “I love you,” mean to you?
I start off with the question, because as of April 2018 I would say there are about 7.6 billion answers — the estimated population of the world.
Is there really a code that solves the puzzle to what love truly is — not that I know of.
Sure, we can all come up with adjectives in an attempt to describe it, but even if we all came up with the same adjectives, it doesn’t mean we would be any closer to a collective answer.
Coming up with a definitive answer to what love is would be like having a worldwide agreement to the questions, “Why do we exist?” or “Why are we here?”
In reality, we all have a common understanding of what love is, but what it really means to each of us and how we show it is about as diverse as a fingerprint.
No two fingerprints are exactly alike, but of the 7.6 billion people out there in the world, chances are there is someone with the same “fingerprint,” so to speak, as you.
Everyone shows love differently. For some, it’s showing affection by touching and physical contact, for others it may be little love notes tucked away in a loved ones overnight bag when they go on a trip, but for others, it may be keeping up with housework, such as cooking and cleaning, doing the laundry, and so forth.
But, what happens when your partner or love interest doesn’t speak the same “love language,” as you?
I wished I could say the love and affection we learn as a child sticks with us into adulthood, but not all children are shown love and affection, although they should be.
As we grow, life experiences, past relationships, heartbreak, disappointment and everything under the sun affects the way we learn to show love.
We either embrace love, distance ourselves, put up walls … or for some, totally turn off feelings or interest in romantic love.
And there are plenty of those that would promote what is the right kind of love … and what is not.
Look around and you’ll see little snippets like: “A man who truly loves you will … ,” or “A woman who truly loves you will … .”
But can any one person truly know what a man or woman who truly loves you will, or will not, do?
And I’m not talking about social mores.
There are so many different ways of showing love, not one person’s idea of what we do to show love would ever be validated as the rules for showing love — at least not among the 7.6 billion people of the world — except those with the same fingerprint.
And, there, is the saving grace and the closest I can come to decoding the love code.
The trick, I believe, is finding someone with the closest fingerprint to your own, rather than someone who is completely the opposite.
While many say opposites attract, and that may be the case in attraction, when it comes to love, opposites may not balance each other like the “yin and yang” many proclaim.
It really isn’t reasonable to ask someone who doesn’t like to be touched to all of a sudden like a touchy type of love. Although the one that doesn’t like to be touched a lot may be OK for a while, it won’t last forever — there are some things we just can’t change — not when a lifetime of experience tells us otherwise.
Some may say supporting a family through working, being a stay at home mom or dad and taking care of household chores, and any other “thing” we do is a form of showing love, and I can agree to some extent, but, to me those are roles and not matters of the heart.
So where does that leave things such as caring, intimacy, sharing your thoughts and dreams, taking interest in what your partner places value in, caressing, doing something for your partner other than routine things we have to do to live, spending time together or something as simple in holding your partner close and looking in their eyes and sincerely uttering three simple little words with meaning, “I love you?”
Something even as simple as a hug goes a long way.
According to Neuroeconomist Paul Zak, hugging increases levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin, which is beneficial for stress levels, heart health, and more; a 20-second hug reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate; a 10-second hug a day may fight infections, boost your immune system, ease depression and lessen fatigue and the giver of a hug receives just as much benefit as the receiver, but some research suggests the healthiest hugs must come from someone you trust (as opposed to a stranger).
In addition, a Behav Med study suggests a 20-second hug, along with 10 minutes of hand-holding, also reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate.
Not only can health benefits can be derived from simply holding hands and hugs, it goes a long way toward intimacy within a couple — I don’t believe the same benefits can be offered of jobs, keeping house or cutting the grass.
Hugs and holding hands are just a couple of examples of showing love and caring, and are definitely not the end-all remedy, but it is a start.
For me, these types of love showings are critical and a staple to happiness, not so for everyone — but, the key is finding someone with as close to the same fingerprint as your own.
No, there is no certain code. No, not everyone has the same fingerprint, but there is someone with a very close fingerprint as your own out there somewhere.
And trust me, as long as you can find a way to shine, you’ll find them.