As of late, I’m a bit overwhelmed. Yeah, it’s the new job and a hundred other things….
But the thing that overwhelms me is something else. It’s an old familiar struggle.
I recognize the signs, and yet hesitate to do anything about it. It happens periodically that those I love want more than I can give – some reassurance of my love.
And while I have no issue with reassuring, and am sorely grateful to be loved, at some point, it doesn’t feel like my reassurance is enough. Loving becomes more like a job because if I don’t respond a certain way or within a specified time, then surely I must not love.
Instead (and I imagine you laughing even now, bird), it becomes about me showing the signs and following the rules. And once it becomes about the rules, it stops being love. Once it becomes an obligation, it stops being love.
I had a conversation with my sister-in-law just last week. She frets because her relationship with her son isn’t what she wants. She wants to be a part of his daily life and so she calls, and calls, and calls. And eventually, he gets angry and tells her off. Then she gets her feelings hurt and calls to say that he doesn’t love her (and I’ve always thought I was a good mother).
What she doesn’t realize and I’m trying to help her see is that she has made this all about her, instead of realizing that love is about giving others what they need (even when it’s not what we need). The times I felt most loved are the times when someone gave me something they really didn’t want to give. It was in those times, their love for me was bigger than them feeling loved in return.
And yep, what happened is what I knew would happen – I loved them more.
I have a dear friend who doesn’t yet understand this simple notion. If I haven’t written, then she won’t speak to me. She punishes me for not being the friend she wants or thinks she deserves. Ultimately, she’s right for I’ll never be the friend she wants or deserves. But if she understood, she might be amazed to find that I can be a better friend than either. Instead, she sets the rules of how I should love and gets less in the process.
What my sister-in-law doesn’t yet realize is that if she allows her son all the space he needs, he will eventually come to her and she will receive more of the one thing she wants – his love. Until then, she can make herself miserable with the rules, and at the same time, somewhat unlovable.
the busy moth
a night becomes
the color of the moon
a shade the same
within the cold
and I’m returning
to where I was before –
awake when no one knew
to ask the dream
. . .
Ah! Yes…the “rules” of true love are that there aren’t any rules…love just IS! But I recognize the people you describe, mainly because I, at one time, was like them. A whole lot of healing and learning to love yourself has to take place before you can just let it BE…without rules…without having to prove something. Great post…hope there will be understanding 🙂
I hope so too, Lorrie. And yes, I’ve been there too which is why I try so hard to help others know the benefits of letting go. Thank you, my friend.
It’s funny how the most amazing things are made less in our attempts to define them – God, Love, Faith, a baby’s sigh, the scent of honeysuckle at twilight…
It’s a core problem with many a people that they cant let loose; very true words here. 🙂
O, Salva. I somehow knew you would appreciate this. I’m both saddened and amazed to see people struggle trying to hold onto love, when the truth is that you can’t lose real love. Maybe that’s the challenge – to give freely of that which we can never keep, that which we can never lose. ❤
The rules only serve to cheat us.
Thank you, Salva.
It depends on the capability / aptitude / excellence of the soul not only to see a rule but also to understand it; only the latter leads to wisdom and a wise implementation / practice.
Wishing you everything best,
Indeed, dear Salva. Even though I abhor the rules, my ability to love would be made less without some level of compassion, a willingness to understand the place where the need for rules was born.
Although my gut reaction is to pull away, I am mindful that I do not know all there is to know. After all, how big could my love be if I allowed the problem to become bigger than the love ❤
You too, Salva. You too!
I did laugh :).
I know you already know this but I think every mother should be reminded of their importance….
You are the best mama a bird could ever hope to be blessed with.
Every single day I find myself remembering something I learned from you…and in all that time you basically helped to raise me emotionally… and how often I fought like hell to resist the wisdom and love you tried to give me….and how hard i tried to squeeze every ounce of love I could out of you on my terms….
but you never gave up on me…….and now I know I wouldn’t be as successful as I am now without you.
And every morning I wake up feeling your love and every night I fall asleep I feel the warm embrace that is you around my heart. I know that you are always a whisper, phone call, or email away…. and that is such an amazing feeling to be loved so much…and I wouldn’t know love this way without you.
I love you, mama…so very much…and I hope you always know just how thankful I am to have you in my life.
I love you so, bird! And thank you for not giving up on you, or on me………. Who we are is a beautiful example of what love can be if simply (beautifully) allowed! 🙂
I also was one of those people who had “rules” but now whenever I hear someone say, I deserve… I think no, you don’t, you expect which is almost always followed by disappointment in some form. Great post. Thanks for the reminder it’s so good.
O, Tracy, that’s a lovely way to put it. It’s the expectation that cripples us from truly knowing love. If I call you because I want to and we both enjoy that, it’s wonderful. But the first time I don’t call and you become angry, then everything changes and a once loving act becomes a responsibility. The relationship shifts and something is lost – even if the only one who notices is the one whose motivation has changed. ❤
I agree totally. Thanks for your writing. I always enjoy it.
What you say is so true! Love is giving without the thought of reciprocation.
In friendships and with coworkers/classmates, it’s give and take – but close friends (that love each other) no longer care about what they receive in return, it’s give, give, give.
Lovely post, Bobbie.<3
O, Nessa, I knew you would understand. If we start keeping up with what’s been done for us and what we’ve given, then it stops being about love and starts being an accounting job. YUCK!!!! 🙂 I love you……..simply, madly, sweetly.
What can I add to what has been written above, Bobbie? On my side of the fence love doesn’t have rules. It’s not a commodity that’s traded but given. If people expect a return then it’s a commodity, and they have rules. Did I ever tell you how much I dislike rules?
It’s rare that I’ve found anyone who is happy and in the business of accounting, and that’s exactly what it becomes when there’s any expectation for what we do out of love. Thank you! I should have known you were a rebel! 🙂
Jane Thorne said:
Love flows, without expectation or agenda, then when it becomes a commodity it ceases to flow. Darling girl, I feel for you as this balance with others can be very tricky sometimes. Love ❤ always…with soft hugs xXx
You’re so right, Jane. And as a Libra, I’m very familiar with the tricky game of balance. But I think I explained that better in my email. Just know that I love you – simply and without expectation of the love you give so freely in return. ❤
Jane Thorne said:
Such a honest post 🙂 I guess it’s expectations that really put a bad spin on things. At some point of time, we start expecting to be loved/treated with the same depth and intensity, forgetting that the other person is actually giving their max. I guess that’s how most of us are, never can have enough, and that too of such a beautiful thing as love, no way! Takes time, loss, love and so much more! But I think if you truly love and care for someone, such feelings and thoughts, really pass away or will be consciously thrown out, and you love because that’s all you can do, and it’s the best you can give of yourself. It’s really not a barter system 😉
I’ve said a lot! Stop!
….but you’ve said it well……….. All we can do (all we’re asked to do) is love. Thank you, my friend. ❤
No. thank you 🙂
Great piece… it’s chains that kill love,letting those we love free is what nurtures love..
.” if love tries to strangle or possess, it is not love’
Maybe it’s co-dependence or the need to dominate , or to be re-assured – but that is not love – as you know….
Indeed, dear Valerie. I suspect it is rather the fear of love that perpetuates the need for rules…for surely love without rules is flying without a net. ❤