21/11/2019

“I love you”…. Whatever that means!

Posted in Family, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:19 am by The Water Bearer

“I love you”

Three tiny, yet pretty loaded and confusing words aren’t they?

They’re the stuff Rom-coms and Spotify playlists are made of, but the word ‘love’ is a slippery thing.

So when someone says “I love you” it could quite literally mean anything..

  • 1. To one person it could mean “I can’t stop thinking about you, I’m miserable without you, I long to be with you every minute of every day, I need you!” (or some varying intensity of that)
  • 2. To another person it means “Seeing you happy is my priority. I accept you as you are, I appreciate you, and cherish our time together.” (or I’m learning what that looks like at least)
  • 3. To the rest it could mean anything from “I own you”, to “I hate you” and through every shade of grey or rainbow in between. (Let’s leave that group of extremists for another post on another day)

I know which one I’d prefer.. How bout you?

There was once a girl who believed she had found love. She spent all her time imagining their future together. She created fantasies in her mind of how their love would become the stuff of legends. He was going to always be there, and hold her when she was scared or sad, he would kiss her intensely when she was bored or lonely, he would be playful and romantic and make her laugh, and he would help her find solutions to all of life’s problems. He would fill all her empty spaces and she would finally be happy.

You can imagine her despair when in reality he had lots of friendships and activities to keep him busy away from her, and he actually pulled away when she was sad because he believed she needed space. He couldn’t tell the difference between when she was scared and when she was mad, so he gave her space then as well. He would kiss her intensely but only when he felt like it, which was usually when she was tired, which annoyed her. He wasn’t really the romantic type, thinking all that was soppy crap! And problem solving wasn’t his strong suit. He let things figure themselves out, while she found problems in almost everything and demanded he try to fix them… Instead he saw past her wild changes in mood, and he accepted her extremely affectionate nature even though he didn’t really like PDA’s. He dedicated himself to appreciating just having her as his special person, no matter what.

So, do you think she loved him?

Did he love her?

Do you think their love became the stuff of legends?

You guessed it!

Of course not! She thought she had chosen the wrong guy, she thought her affectionate love was being wasted on him and perhaps the next guy (who she couldn’t stop thinking about) would make all her dreams come true. SPOILER ALERT : That guy didn’t last either… and neither did the next.

The problem was “LOVE”.

What she thought was love was actually insecurity, sentimentality, obsession, selfish expectations and control All of these depend on her emotions, and how she feels about herself. Her idea of love focused entirely on herself. Her wants. Her fears. Her dissatisfaction. Her desires.

Don’t get me wrong here.. It’s not always the girls who have this co-dependent self-serving view of love, in fact many young men are now looking to this generation of confident, independent young women to become the very oxygen they breathe.

Its important to realise that our own emotions, identity and self-confidence have a huge impact on what those words “I love you” mean. They can change what we mean when we say it, but they can also change what we hear when someone says it to us. We can expect certain things that they never promised to give us. Or they may expect more from us than we signed up for.

If we are emotionally aware, meaning we know emotions are fickle and we don’t always trust them, and we have a good foundation of self-worth, a solid identity, and think of others happiness more than we think of our own, then we are more likely to find love in the 2nd way.

However if we have some insecurities to work on, and are not accepting of ourselves, or have a warped sense of identity, and our emotions take charge of us more than we take charge of them, we are more than likely to fall into category 1… or God forbid, category 3!

In other words, we make “love” all about us and our own personal fulfilment and pleasure. A love that takes but struggles to give. It struggles to give freedom, trust, acceptance and compassion.

There is an ancient guide to what true love looks like. It can serve as a template to meditate on when we are dealing with matters of the heart and relationships of all kinds. So before we say those words “I love you” perhaps we can check this guide to see if we really mean it. Now granted this is a divine form of love which doesn’t come naturally, however it is possible with help from God to manage our emotions, and work hard to aim for.

Could you love anyone like this?

  1. Are you patient with your loved one and try to keep the peace?
  2. Do you treat them with kindness, are thoughtful and understanding of them, striving to make them happy?
  3. Do you resist the urge to feel jealous and possessive over them?
  4. Do you refuse to boast to your friends about your love, not showing off on social media to compete or compare against other’s relationships?
  5. Do you apologise when you take your frustrations or emotions out on them?
  6. Are you in the relationship for what you can get out of it, or do you simply want to give love to them?
  7. Do you try not to get angry or emotionally sensitive with them easily?
  8. Do you forgive and forget when they take responsibility for their mistakes?
  9. Do you encourage each other to do your best, tell the truth, never lie to them nor tempt them to do wrong?
  10. Do you refuse to give up on your love when times get tough?
  11. Do you trust them?
  12. Do you always look for the best in them?
  13. Does your love get weaker or more selfish depending on your emotional state, or does it stay stable no matter your mood?

When you have found a special someone .. let this list be your aim. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it!

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