Love has many complications, especially in this day and age where there is heavy warfare about what it means to love someone of a different belief structure or sexual orientation to oneself.
Someone once told me, “My definition [of love] would boil down to a few concepts. Forgiveness, acceptance, trust, desire to see them happy even if you disagree with what made them so.” , so let’s dissect it.
Forgiveness is an essential part of love. People will always hurt us, always disappoint, always betray our trust. That does not make it okay, but if we were to hold onto those feelings indefinitely, where would we be? People make mistakes. We make mistakes.
None of us will ever be perfect, and whilst we can still try to better ourselves, it’d be nice to know that there are people around us that will understand when we fail and let us off the hook instead of push us away. So let’s be that person and not hold grudges against those that have wronged us.
One of the things I find vital in diplomacy is being understanding of others, and in understanding, accepting differences.
Acceptance is not synonymous with agreeance. We do not have to condone other peoples’ actions in order to accept that they have a different way of living or believing than we do. I’m sure a lot of us accept that most of the people around us don’t believe in the Christian God. That’s an easy step. But how about accepting that that means they operate from a different belief structure?
We cannot expect people to live by Christian ideals. Many will act in ways that are contradictory to our faith, which may even be downright sinful in the eyes of God. Should we reject them for it, or give them a ten hour lecture about how they are heathens destined for hell? I sure hope not. No. We keep on loving them, because they are precious to us and because we know that we, too, act in ways unsatisfactory to them and even, dare I say, to God. If we cannot accept others for what we see as their flaws, then we cannot expect anyone to accept us.
Trust is a biggie. To trust requires a combination of the above two concepts. Firstly, it is accepting others for who they are enough to allow them to hold onto certain parts of our life, be they secrets or the confidence that nothing is shared but the truth — no lies. It also requires forgiveness and not being too hard on them when our trust is betrayed. If we constantly hold people at arm’s length, whilst not subtracting from the love we have for them, it does hinder how much we can love them, and even how much love we can receive from them.
I’m not saying we should give the keys to our houses to strangers on the street, tell them to help themselves to the sugar and expect to come home to find the TV still in place. I’m saying that to take a relationship further with someone, we have to be willing to go out on a limb and give them a chance. We should play it smart without being afraid to take little risks. It’s a wonderful feeling, being able to trust someone and be trusted in return.
Where it gets a little messy…
To refresh, love has been defined as the “desire to see them happy even if you disagree with what made them so.”
When I love someone, I want to see them flourish. Don’t we all? If we truly love them? Happiness, however, is where my issue lies. To me, happiness is fleeting and too often idolised; good to be experienced but not as a constant state, which is an unrealistic concept anyway.
Too often we allow loved ones to enter into relationships or situations we think are bad for them but don’t say anything because “at least they’re happy” or we focus too hard on making them happy, instead of telling or giving them what they need. Sometimes what they need is the exact opposite of what they want; sometimes it hurts them, makes them mad or sad or anything in between.
When we love someone, we need to prepare for things to get ugly. We need to be able to tell them the truth, even if it upsets them, and maintain that trust. Sometimes we will have to accept that their life decisions aren’t ones that line up with our beliefs, and whilst we should speak the truth in love and hold to our morals and faith, it is not for us to judge, for there is an abundance of things in our own lives that we deserve judgment for ourselves. In the end, it is God alone who has the power to judge and to save.
Sabrina has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and history. She has a passion for learning and creative writing with aspirations to one day become a high school teacher.
Sabrina Meyer's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressservice international.org/sabrina-meyer.html