“My fears may be realized. It is something I cannot predict. I know, however, that my best chance at joy lies in giving love without letting the fear that it won’t be returned close me off. My major task in an uncertain world is feeling and giving the fullest measure of love I can manage. I actively cultivate this style of loving and aim to get better at it every day.”
Response: I’m undecided on this… I understand what you’re saying… but without expecting that return, you can allow others to take you for granted…
Mind Crush: Yes, we’ve had this discussion before. We can’t confuse loving with pleasing or consistently elevating someone else’s needs over our own. Seeing our needs as equal and managing the ways in which they may conflict in an active way is an important relationship skill (for all our relationships not just romantic ones). We have to know how to hold our needs as equal to others’ yet respond out of love and not out of fear that our needs may not be met or resentment that they have gone unmet.
What does “loving without the fear that it won’t be returned” really mean? Well, let’s start with what it doesn’t mean. It does not mean that I will do whatever you want; it does not mean that my job is to satisfy you at the expense of self-care. I don’t think it has anything to do with being a doormat. And so, you can only continue to take advantage of me if I allow it (fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice…). I would argue that the most loving thing you can do for someone is never ever to let them take advantage of you or any one else. To know this, you must understand that taking advantage of people hurts them too (even if they don’t care about the ways in which it hurts them). (more…)