I just read a good article on the blog Waiting For The World To Change and I and felt inspired to write a response. Blog author Zosimee published an excerpt from Real Love: The Truth About Finding Unconditional Love and Fulfilling Relationships, a book about the difference between conditional and unconditional love. Reading this article gave me a new perspective and helped me articulate my own beliefs about the authenticity of love. I agree with the overall principles that I read but found myself getting stuck on a couple of the points made issue. Can look be used as evidence of love? ...Wouldn't it be great to know the look of love?
Here's an excerpt taken from The Destructive Legacy of Love that I disagreed with:
"...Fortunately, there are two reliable signs that love is not genuine: disappointment and anger...As a child, I was thrilled when my mother smiled at me, spoke softly, and held me, because I knew from those behaviors that she loved me. I also noticed that she did those pleasant things more often when I was "good" - when I was quiet, grateful, and cooperative. In other words, I saw that she loved me more when I did what she liked...When I was "bad" - noisy, disobedient, and otherwise inconvenient - she did not speak softly or smile at me. On those occasions, she frowned, sighed with disappointment, and often spoke in a harsh tone of voice. Although it was certainly unintentional, she clearly told me with those behaviors that she loved me less, and that was the worst pain in the world for me..."
Disappointment, anger, yelling or disapproving looks are emotional reflexes... Not signs of conditional love. Genuine reactions and expressions are what keep us emotionally and mentally well. You can choice the alternative, stuffing or manipulating your reactions in an attempt to display Real Love. Too many people define love as a feeling! When they can't eat and most of their thoughts are consumed by one person, they are in love. But when a person doesn't buy you the present you hoped for it's assumed that they don't have Real Love for you.
Here's another excerpt from the same article:
"Conditional love is [based on]... how...[people] feel...do what they want... or at least...[do]...nothing to inconvenience [them]. In other words, we have to buy conditional love from the people around us...It's critical that we be able to distinguish between Real Love and conditional love. When we can't do that, we tend to settle for giving and receiving conditional love, which leaves us empty, unhappy, and frustrated..."
That's true! Love is a commitment to support and encourage others to best of your ability. Sometimes people that we admire and care for do things that hinder or hurt themselves and/or others. Accepting people for who they are is essential in expressing love but setting personal boundaries is equally important to maintain balance. Every living thing makes toxic materials that must be eliminated in order to function properly; loved gets stifled in realtionships where problems are ignored. Stop trying to tolerate what you believe is bad behavior. . If you yell at someone you love because of a wrong assumption don't beat yourself up. Instead take responsiblity for your mistake, apologize for the hurt you've caused, explain what you plan to do the next time you are tempted to loss it so that they can hold you accountable and ask the person if there is something you can do to make up for it you bad behavior. Get comfortable with making communication mistakes and learn from them and forgive yourself. "Love keeps no record of wrongs."
Feelings and emotions are temporary experiences...not love indicators. So what is love? Love as a noun is the commitment you make to those around you. Love as a verb are the actions you take to help, encourage and appreciate those around you. Feelings are wonderful but should not be confused with Real Love.
Hurt Feelings- Love, Lust and Life
Open Heart- Love, Lust and Life
Complaining About Hubby- Saturday Love
The Destructive Legacy of Love- Waiting On The World To Change