I came across a wonderful article today which truly moved me. In this article the author discusses what love really means. What exactly constitutes love?
- I love chips
- I love Scotland
- I love my own children
- I love my job
He claims that love in each of these sentences describe different experiences. At first it may appear loving your children isn’t perhaps quite the same as loving the feeling of eating chips; in truth they aren’t quite so different. Being in love means different things to different people. There are people who might be obsessed or overly possessive. This class of people generally find it difficult to cope with separation and merger. They don’t see the person they love as living breathing individual with their own feelings and desires.
Fundamentally as you grow up you have to deal with scenarios that are not always aligned to your idealistic views. Although at first glance loving someone because “the way they make you feel” seems reasonable; it really isn’t. Loving someone must also incorporate recognition of that person… that is, a person with his or her own feelings, emotions, ideas and opinions. When you are separated by distance and time, you end up caring for that person’s feelings and emotions a lot more than yours. To be able to place that person’s needs above yours calls for a special kind of love; which not everyone is capable of.
Sadly internalised parental criticism is a topic that is familiar to me. I am not entirely convinced if anyone truly and successfully exorcises this particular demon. I have understood it, I have mostly accepted it but it still hurts. So if you are reading this post ask yourself this question. Are you still longing for something that you never quite received? Do you still love them in any meaningful way? If you do, you ought to be able to look beyond the past and take yourself out of the equation. And then you ought to see that not your Dad but John worked his butt off day and night and yet still found time to make sure your homework was checked… not your Dad but John still made sure the bills got paid… not your Mom but Sally sold all her belongings and prized possession to build the roof over your head.
Now without totally disregarding yourself and how weighed down you feel by all that internalised frustration, anger and regret; can you see the pain and disappointments they put up with? If you can, then perhaps you do really love them in a meaningful way.
However, this is just an interpretation… I am no way suggesting this is definitive but merely proposing an alternate view.
Personally for me love is not just about being giddy with a fuzzy feeling and that tingling sensation all over. Love is about sacrifice, devotion, compassion and compromise. Love is swallowing your pride and staying true to the cause. When you eventually reach the summit, there is nothing more than the bittersweet agony of the journey. The sheer relief and utter joy.
Love is bloody hard work!