Love as a word, as a theory, as an emotion is hard to describe, but love as it shows up in every day life is a bit easier to grasp.
- Exclusive Love: You only love me truly if you love others less.
- Possessive Love: If you really love me, I want you to pay special attention to me.
- Manipulative Love: When you love me, you will do extra things for me.
Emotional Reactions expecting love from others:
- Vain: You must see something very special in me.
- Jealous: Why are you now suddenly so interested in someone else and not me?
- Angry: I am going to let you know that you have let me down and rejected me.
As humans, we long for others to see how special we are. We long to not be forgotten. We long to be seen, accepted and valued. But when we demand it, often requiring others love us before we love ourselves, we end up polluting our own specialness.
What if, in our friendships with other women, we lessened our efforts to squeeze and seduce love from another human, and confidently asserted our availability:
“You can reach me if you but considered what I am, and you can reach me still whenever you wish if you are content to find me as I am and not as you wish me to be.”
And for others, we could love them like this:
I will try to reach you after considering what you are, and I will patiently and kindly encourage who you are, because I am content to find you as you are and not as I wish you to be.
Adapted from The Genesee Diary: Report From a Trappist Monastery by Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)