LOVE CAN BE CONFUSING
Yesterday was LOVE day 2010. Love is a feel-good emotion. Yet it can be confusing. At times I think I’ve tried to control the way my spouse, friends and family show their love for me. Over the years in my coaching and mentoring work, I’ve noticed others do this, too. To fulfill our personal dreams, we sometimes push our “loving” ideas on others. Yet this type of love can be limiting. It inhibits intimacy and contentment. True love resists imposing our perfectionistic concepts of love on one another.
CHARACTERISTICS OF HEALTHY LOVE
Healthy love relationships include these characteristics:
1. Allowing for individuality. Differing talents or temperaments do not threaten true love. Feelings and thoughts can be expressed without fear.
2. Not attempting to change the other. We may not like everything about our partner, yet when we consider the total picture we are able to be more accepting.
3. Caring with detachment. Healthy love cares, listens, and responds; yet does not try to fix or remove the uncomfortable feelings of the lover or loved one.
4. Affirming equality of self and partner. A mature relationship treats the partners as equals. There is no sense of competition, one-upmanship or power-posturing.
LOVE–A JUGGLING ACT?
When we practice mature love, we accept what the other person is able or willing to give at the current moment. We allow each other space to grow and develop.
I’m asking God to teach me more about love. I don’t wish to make inappropriate demands. At the same time, I want to be real, authentic and upfront. Truthfully, it can feel like a juggling act. What do you think?
The Gift Goes On
Haiti and other hurting places: As I hear about the hurting men, women, and children of Haiti and watch the caring people who’ve chosen to help, I’m reminded of a story. A young friend told me about her recent missions trip. “It was dark, dirty work,” she said. “Yet, it was my group’s job to set up a wooden stage on a dump site in preparation for our evening concert. We had no idea if anyone would come to hear us sing, so when we finally got the lights to work, we were delighted to find that we were surrounded by children.
“After our concert, I felt a tug on my sleeve. I turned to notice the little brown-eyed girl I had met earlier in the day. I distinctly remember praying, ‘God, please help this child.’
Surprise Gift: “Speaking in her native language she tried to tell me something–again and again she tried. Finally through the help of an interpreter I learned the message she wanted me to hear. ‘I’ll see you later in heaven,’ said the little girl.
“Then this special child joined her waiting mother and stepped out of my sight. But not out of my mind or heart. Our shared moment changed everything for me. It certainly changed my attitude for the rest of our trip. This small one with the hopeful message didn’t have a big house, or fancy clothes and toys to share, yet she gave me a very special gift that day. It altered my ideas about giving and caring for others. We all have something valuable to give. Each person’s gift is important.”
Generosity multiples: My teenage friend spent her school vacation singing and praying for children in El Salvador. A little girl heard her and gave back words of gratefulness and hope. Then my friend shared the experience with me. That inspired me to share it with you. When we give what we can to another human being, we never know for certain how far our gift will go.
Your gift is important: What did you do today to inspire or help another?
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.