To my surprise, as I looked at the definitions for love, I found very superficial definitions, as lead definitions, defining main attributes, characteristics of love. One definition read “ a very intense feeling for, a deep affection.” I have a deep affection for coffee, chocolate and my dog Zeus. Another definition I read, “a deep romantic, or sexual attraction to.” In a generation where many do not take more than six minutes to truly give attention to matters, it concerns me somewhat, that we have these definitions as lead or integral characteristics of love. These definitions are what I call the filler.*Filler is a term I use to describe the lesser degrees of love.* Filler is exactly what it suggest, something which adds to or enhances a thing, but is not the major thing.
Selfishness is defined by the online dictionary as, of a person, action, or motive lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit, pleasure, or gain. The short one word definition-petty.
Me Myself And I
When I was in my late teens early twenties I had someone profess their undying love for me, only to find out later that, he was only protecting himself from the ridicule of others. I found out, quite by accident that he had been rejected by more than a few girls, and they actually were laughing, and making jokes about him. When I asked about his relationship with them, they had no problem reiterating the cruel, crude jokes. What they said, now that I look back, made me feel sorry for him. To spare you the lengthy details. I ended up dating him. I Found out from others, that he was considered “gay” so the reason he wanted to date me was to cover up his own feelings of inadequacy. He felt that lying to me was a necessary evil to protect his image. It did not matter the pain I felt, or the rejection I suffered, as long as his need was met e.g. that his reputation as a “man” was safe. He gained a reputation at my expense. For those of you who want know, he wasn’t gay, but after spending the time I have with him, I realized that he is extremely socially awkward, and may have a disability that prevents him from connecting well with people.
Self-Care The Opposite Of Selfishness
This is where the rubber meets the road. In today’s world “self-care” is now the mantra of every guru. Self-care is a phrase that I believe is fast becoming a common catch phrase, instead of a important activity. People of lesser integrity, take this phrase and use it to further their own selfish agendas. Self-Care is the action we take to take care of ourselves, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, NOT the cloke we use to TAKE from others, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Let me give you another example. I tell someone that I love them, and we are “family” I give them the impression that we will have a reciprocal relationship; but the moment my personal needs, or desires press, I bail on the commitment. When asked why, I left the person I am in relationship with, in a position of lack, whether it’s financial, emotional, or social, I use the words self-care loosely, as if these words make it okay for me to neglect the other person’s need. I have convinced myself that it is okay to neglect or devalue the other person, not honoring the values we set for our friendship e.g. truth, respect, and regard. In essence my actions that only benefit me (Self-Care) takes precedence over my commitment to our relational agreement. (Politically correct version). The more accurate version: my needs are more important, it doesn’t really matter what it cost you in the long run.
When you, or I have committed to a relationship, or are thinking about committing ourselves, no matter the type of relationship, we should ask ourselves at least these three questions; how much time and effort am I willing to put into building the relationship? How much of a sacrifice am I truly willing to make? and Where would it leave the other person if something were to change? If we can answer these three questions with truly unselfish answers, then we may have a chance for a quality relationship.
Balance In All Things
We all know and have experienced situations where life happens, and we are not able to keep our commitment e.g. an abusive spouse, the loss of a job, family relocating unexpectedly, the loss of a loved one, or other tragic events, which can take us to places that are hard to come back from, things that are out of our control. We must allow room for grace in these cases. Those decisions however, that we intentionally make, knowing there is no mutual benefit involved, and are only for our best interest, are not acts of love, but of selfishness.
Self interest is the number one killer of all good relationships.
Love is not just a word, it is an expression of truth, commitment, honor, sacrifice, and respect given to those we utter the words “I love you” to.