April 3
The beginning of love is to let
those we love be perfectly
themselves, and not to twist them
to fit our own image.  Otherwise
we love only the reflection of
ourselves we find in them.

Thomas Merton


Today's Meditation:

Love and let live--these are definitely words to live by.  It's a shame, though, that so many people don't.  So many relationships that exist on this planet consist of one person constantly trying to control the other.  Lose some weight, gain some weight, don't talk like that, do this, don't do that any more, you should wear more of this, I don't like your hair that way, why do you always. . . . 

"Love" that tries to be controlling, love that tries to change someone else into the image that we want them to be, isn't love at all.  True love is encouraging someone else to live up to their unique potential, to embrace their unique likes and to respect their own dislikes, to wear the clothes they feel comfortable in, to use make-up as they see fit (or not at all) rather than how we think they should.  Love is not having a trophy partner or a submissive partner--love is being with another human being who is "perfectly him or herself."  What a lovely term that is!

Why do we try so often to nurture the reflection of ourselves that we see?  Why do we try to convince our "loved" ones to do things in the ways that we would do them?  Why do we get angry or upset or frustrated when they do something on their own that we very clearly know that we would never do?  Why do we feel so proud and happy when our "loved" one follows our advice and approaches something in exactly the way that we would?

We are fickle beings, but that doesn't mean that we can't allow others to be themselves.  In fact, there are several benefits to doing so.  Most importantly, when we stop trying to control others, they feel more loved and more respected, and they can start to shine in their own unique ways.  But also, we find out that we can re-direct all the energy that we had been using to control someone else to our own lives, using it to better ourselves and make our own lives more satisfying and fulfilling.  And that would be a much more appropriate use of our energy, anyway.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of role models teach us  that controlling another persons thoughts or actions is an appropriate way to approach a relationship?

How can we know that we're not letting someone else be themselves?  How can we know that someone else isn't letting us be ourselves?

What does it mean to you to let someone else be "perfectly themselves"?

For further thought:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

attributed to William Shakespeare


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