Love and affection

” I love you “- said the Little Prince.
“I love you too” – answered the rose.
“But it’s not the same thing,” he replied. – «To love means to take possession of something, of someone. It means seeking in others what fills personal expectations of affection, of companionship. To love means to make ours what does not belong to us, to desire something to complete ourselves, because we feel that we are missing something “.”

Since the time of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the unforgotten author of “The Little Prince” we are all there to ask ourselves about the differences between “loving” and “loving”, or, if we want to slightly change the terms, between “loving” and “Affection”.
There are many theses about it. For example, according to what Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has the Prince say about him, affection has a sort of “selfish” value. Brutally said “I love you” because from your affection I can draw something that I do not have.
Instead, there are those who say the opposite. That is, while loving (or love) always has a sexual value, and therefore has a physical and therefore interested matrix, affection is not, it is the younger brother of love, and it applies to all relationships, for example those of friendship or those between family members, relationships in which, precisely, affection is not linked to a physical-sexual exchange between the parties, but is based on the spontaneity of the same.
My point of view on the subject is closer to that of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, but it also captures some aspects of the second thesis. I think that love has different “versions”. There is an original version, and therefore by its very nature all-encompassing, which is the one you can experience in life only for very few people. You can easily try it for your children, sometimes, to be lucky, for a partner. Loving is the root of everything, or, a bit as Aristotle said (but in that case he spoke of God) the whole towards which everything tends. When I say “I love you” to a person then I am expressing a primordial feeling which, as mentioned, is all-encompassing, and often it is in the most devastating sense of the term. When you say “I love you” (of course this only applies if you really think about it, and not just to talk about it), I am not only declaring a feeling to the other party, I am literally “canceling” myself. It is as if from that moment on the other part became our everything, our reason for living, the breath and the heartbeat. And it’s not a trivial matter.

No limits

There are no limits, there are no measures, and above all there is no return: hence the sense of devastation I mentioned earlier. “I love you” and I don’t do it because I expect this or that from you. I do it simply because I can’t do without it, because it’s the thing that comes most naturally to me. I do it almost without thinking about it, like the breathing or heartbeat mentioned above.
And when I say I love you? Well, to be honest, even when I am affirming some form of affection towards someone, this does not imply (but I am speaking for myself) that something else is waiting for me in return. But the “I love you”, to use a metaphor, is from my point of view a “I love you second hand”.
Not for this is something to be discarded, nor, for this reason, to say “I love you” is a sentence to be thrown away like this, simply because you don’t know what to say. It too has an important interpersonal value, it too represents a way of declaring oneself to others, but it has a much lower intensity than the I love you mentioned above. The “I love you” has limitations. Maybe he does not necessarily foresee a return but subtly expects it, even if it is not declared.
Let’s say that, from my point of view, the “I love you” is a “I love you” deprived of its limitlessness. It seems little but it is a lot.
That’s why, I firmly believe, that in couple relationships, we should never be satisfied with the “I love you” but we must, throughout our life, look for a way to find on the other side the person to whom we can say, ” I love you ”, without limits, even if this can hurt us. Then if we are ultra lucky it may happen that the other person also loves us in the same way: but these are very rare cases, let’s face it.

Rare quality

The ability to give oneself to someone totally, in fact, is a rare quality to find in people, especially in a world like today’s where relationships are quickly polluted by personal selfishness. And selfishness is the kryptonite of loving. At the very moment in which even the slightest hint of selfishness manifests itself, the all-encompassing love we have talked about so far disappears, vanishes, dries up.
And this is the reason why we often find ourselves deciding between having respect for ourselves and loving; precisely because so many times the two things do not coincide at all! And there is no manual to be able to answer this question: “do I totally love someone, or do I set stakes out of respect for myself?”. Alas there is no correct answer to this question.
In front of this crossroads, the only compass that holds up is that of the heart. It is not always a compass that leads us in the right direction. On the contrary, he often makes us give large craniates. But it is the only compass towards happiness we can count on. Imperfect but unique in its own way.