For too long, we have measured love by how much pain someone can take from us. We have been taught that love “puts up” with all our mess and never calls us to order, let alone challenging us to do better. We have been misled to believe that love requires nothing of us. And so, we are fixated with constant taking and care very little about giving back. From an early age, we have watched our mothers catering to everyone’s needs (even at the expense of their own happiness)—except theirs, and called that love. And we have been searching ever since for someone who will put their dreams on hold for us. We have been yearning for the kind of love that only a mother can give, but seeking it from people who are incapable of giving it because they are not our parent. We have become so addicted to constant receiving that we are not prepared to invest time and emotion into building anything that requires us be vulnerable. We have believed for too long that love sees beyond our flaws, and it does, but it does not excuse bad behavior. This way of loving and relating to one another has ruined us and made us quick to opt out of relationships and friendships that could’ve helped us to grow.
With that mental picture as our frame of what love should be, we go through life insisting that if someone loves us, they will put up with our temper, our negligence and our abusive tendencies. We applaud people who stay with us despite of our ill treatment of them. We expect them to be there for us and to understand that that’s just “how we are”. We expect those who love us to tiptoe around our brokenness because we are simply too lazy deal with our issues.
We refuse to change, it’s just too hard. We want to stay the same, and not change, not grow and not challenge ourselves to be better. We want to stay victims of who hurt us, who left and who wasn’t there for us. We want our issues to be accepted but not dealt with. We want our behaviour to be justified, but never corrected. We want our attitudes to be excused but never changed. We want our views to be heard, but never challenged. This is not love.
Love is more than just hugs and kisses. We must be prepared to deal with our baggage and pain and trauma. To love is to be vulnerable. To love is to forgive. To love is to trust. To love is to respect the other person. To love is to listen even if you don’t agree. To love is to honor the other person. To love is to recognize that there is another opinion or view– other than yours. To love is to be teachable.
In this season of our lives, I pray for you and I, may we learn how to love better. May we be strong enough to admit our flaws and honest enough to face them head-on. May we be humble enough to ask for help when we need it. May we be bold enough to put our childish ways behind us. May we allow our loved ones to love us enough to correct us. May we be courageous enough to give them permission to point out things in us that we might be blind to. May we be brave enough to listen to others so we can grow. May we develop a new strength, an ability to work things out when challenges come and realize that each test has a lesson to teach. May we pursue healthy love.
Love and light,