What loving means to me

Last week, I saw this cute little thing on Facebook with hearts and roses, o so lovely, and it said,

“I love my mom for everything she has done.”

Awwww…that is So SWEET!!!

Well, It could be sweet.

It was meant to be sweet.

But to me (and, granted, I’m kind of a stickler about this) it may as well have said, “I love my mom conditionally because she does stuff for me, and I like when people do stuff for me.” Yes, I know that’s not what was meant – but I couldn’t help it – that’s what I saw. I think this means that I am a bit of a scrooge, but so be it. I’m a bit touchy about language and syntax, and I’m a lot touchy about unconditionally loving people, not for what they have done, but because they are. I love my mom (and my dad, and my husband, and I love my kids and all family and friends…). That’s it. I just love them. Sometimes (but not often) I love them in spite of what they have done, just as I hope they love me in spite of all the times and ways I have disappointed them as a daughter/spouse/parent/etc. But to love because of… it is selfish and self-serving at worst, and immature at best.

Love, just because. Because those who are least able to give something in return are most in need of it. Because those who are adept at presenting themselves as completely apathetic to (or scornful of) love are most in need of it. Because at some point in our lives, we all feel completely unworthy of love, and are most in need of it. Every one of us.

For family members, close friends, loving can be easy (can be, but isn’t always, I know) – you know their needs, so you fill them as best you can. For strangers, love can be a sincere smile or compliment, or an opened door. It is always intentional presence when you are with someone. Truly see them, truly listen to them. It is not for everything they do, not for what they do, not even for what they are. But that they are. And this is unconditional love.

The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved – loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. ~Victor Hugo

If love does not know how to give and take without restrictions, it is not love, but a transaction that never fails to lay stress on a plus and a minus. ~Emma Goldman, The Tragedy of Women’s Emancipation


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