*Love Is Not Immature*
Immature according to the dictionary online is defined as having, or showing the emotional state, development, or intellect of someone younger (child). It means to be in the early stages of development. Immature denotes something or someone who is underdeveloped.
When We Speak Love Language
When we speak of love, we think of warm feelings, euphoric thoughts, gifts, holding hands, complete happiness. Unfortunately, these descriptors are aspects, benefits of love, not the essence of love. Due to our cultural ideologies, the reality of what love is, and what it looks like, is somewhat removed from the truth. The truth is, love is a work (of art) that requires sacrifice, and diligence to maintain. Love requires things of us which pull against the grain of our natural nature. For example, forgiving someone who hurt you. Although it may not be hard for some, it is not, humanly speaking, the first response to rejection or betrayal. Love is the response that comes, only after we have worked through the hurt on some level, made a informed decision (hopefully) to express attributes of love, and begin the effort to build around the offense. Some years ago I spoke with a friend who had been betrayed by someone, she thought truly cared for her well-being. I shared this same perspective with her.
My friend had a working relationship with a person engaged in building things to help communities in the area. They had drawn up a contract for a portion of the proceeds to be reinvested into what she had earmarked for her community. The contract wasn’t honored. My friend felt deeply betrayed. She felt the only reason the individual who betrayed her involved her in anything, was because of what she could give financially, to projects. For months my friend had been struggling with how this person betrayed her trust, and how she felt used. One day during the conversation on this subject, I interrupted her and said, “take what was done and make something beautiful out of it. Make it a beautiful focal point to your personal mosaic called life”. To do so is an expression of love (towards yourself), but it takes work. It is the old adage when life gives you lemons…with a different take.
Immature People Underdeveloped Love
If we were to apply the above definitions to ourselves in our everyday lives, where would we fall on the immaturity scale?
How we handle difficulty can reveal where we are. Some questions we can ask ourselves when identifying where we are in love are: How do I respond when I don’t get my way in a given situation?
What do I do, how do I respond when someone asks me to do something that isn’t necessarily in my nature?(as long as it’s not demeaning or detrimental to my self-worth).
What or who do I turn to when I can’t handle life?
Am I consistently looking for what I can get? Or do I, more often look for ways I can contribute, give?
Relationship Is A Gift
I have had relationships with friends, family, and co-workers who have a great deal of difficulty giving up behaviors, and beliefs that are detrimental to their relationships. Because of fear, and “loving” their behavior and beliefs, more than the other person, or appreciating the opportunity, I have watched people destroy what was meant to add value to their lives.
Allow me to share a personal example.
I was in a relationship with someone who always blamed his mother for his decision to be controlling, condescending, and cruel. He was extremely manipulative, and almost pathological in lying when confronted with the truth. I tried to communicate my dissatisfaction with his behavior and neglect in building the relationship. I continued for several months, years to articulate my needs and expectations. He continued to be reckless and unequivocal in his abandonment of our friendship. He continued to do things that would aggressively destroy the fabric of trust, and by extension the relationship. Instead of him offering an apology, and acting on that apology (action towards change is the truest expression of apologies), he continued to blame his mother, other family members, and the fact that he had no one to help him in his life. In short his refusal to love, and grow in love was always someone else’s responsibility. The list of blame grew, as time went on. Eventually I was added to his list. After a while of trying to be a friend, my emotional resources e.g. love, kindness, trust, and respect began to be depleted. I could no longer sustain the friendship in a healthy way. I found that my well being began to be affected. Eventually, I had to leave our friendship. To this day he blames others for situations, and circumstances affected by his choice, to believe and practice, destructive behaviors.
Identifying Underdeveloped Love
When we are underdeveloped, emotionally or spiritually in love, we tend to focus on our own needs. Regardless of the negative affects our immaturity has on others, we continue to take ( deplete the emotional, spiritual, and material resources) from those we say we love. Instead of giving, we continue to demand that our needs be met on our terms.
We are selfish
We all, at one time in our adult life, lived life in a very selfish manner. We all can probably remember a time, where we were more concerned about what we needed, than the needs of those who depended on us. We may have ignored the cries of a friend. We may have decided not to give emotionally or mentally into a relationship, because it took too much effort on our part, to grow beyond our own cocoon. On the opposite side, we may have been on the receiving end of selfishness. Someone may have stolen from us in some way, to satisfy their personal need without considering how it would negatively affect our lives.
Those behaviors and attitudes that stunt the growth of relationship~our growth as an individual, are the behaviors and attitudes that have self gratification as the central motive.
We run from circumstances, that are created for our growth. We make excuses for ourselves to stay in lack emotionally, mentally, and physically because it takes too much energy, and requires examining truth, to face who we really are. It takes too much self discipline, self sacrifice to put forth the effort to grow, to change, for the sake of those we love.
We blame our childhood for the deliberate weakened state of being we choose to live in. We blame a bad, failed marriage, to keep from stretching ourself emotionally, to love. We blame the family we came from, as a reason not to become the parent our children need.
Anything we can find that will take the place of growing in love on our part, we seem to gladly substitute, as a valid reason to live in a state of malnourished, immature underdeveloped, love.
We Grow In The Love We Wish to Receive
The heading is a little misleading. I am not saying that we pick the love we want to develop (grow), so that we can receive that same type of love back. Although seed time and harv