Love is funny. Sometimes you don’t even know that you love someone until you are asked point blank. You’re sitting in a restaurant talking about how much you care about someone and how they are important to you, and without warning someone calls you out. “You love that person, don’t you?” Whoa. You don’t know what to say. Well . . . usually the first response you think is how you really feel, but saying it out loud is scary.
This is just an example, though. What I’m describing is a romantic type of love where you’re very thoughts are monopolized by that other person. You want to be with them. You want to impress them. You want to make them laugh. Most of all, you want to take care of them and make them feel safe. But what about other kinds of love? Is there something that unites all of them together? I think love for another person is qualified by the realization that there are other things in this word besides just yourself. Those that don’t have love for other people spend all their time thinking about their own lives and making their own plans. Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong with considering and attending to your own needs and wants, but it is essential to be aware that you aren’t the most important thing in the world. Love for another person forces you to consider the needs and wants and feelings of someone else. Those become part of your thought process every day.
This is the point that Jesus is trying to make when he says to love your neighbor as yourself. When you think about yourself, you think you’re pretty important, right? Well that’s what everyone else thinks, too. So, in a nutshell, everyone would get along so much better if we all realized that the needs of others are just as important as we think ours are. Maybe even more. It’s definitely hard to break out of that frame of mind sometimes, but I don’t believe loves works without it. Sure you can say you love someone all you want, but genuine love is reflected through your actions.
The interesting part to me, the part that sort of defies logic, is the good feeling you get when you put others before yourself. I mean, you don’t always get it. Sometimes, given the opportunity to take the high road and treat someone with kindness and respect, we fail and take the jerk way out. But there are times when the intrinsic reward that we receive from making the non selfish choice is worth the time and effort spent. These are all just words on a page, though. I want everyone to understand how important love for others is, but you won’t know it until you do it. It’s like the Matrix. I cannot tell you what it is. You have to see it for yourself.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Want to Know What Love Is.”