October 28     

Today's quotation:

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image.  If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them:  we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

Thomas Merton

No Man Is an Island

Today's Meditation:

I believe these to be two of the most important sentences that any of us can read at any time:  our love must allow those we love to be themselves.  To talk as they want to talk, to think as they want to think, to like the things they like, to reject the things they wish to reject.  So many "relationships" are based on one or both of those involved trying to change the object of their love into something they find more acceptable, more lovable, and that's simply a recipe if not for disaster, then for unhappiness.

If we don't try to make someone into our own image, then we allow them to remain free to do their own thing.  Period.  So many people feel unlovable because the people who love them do so conditionally, especially parents.  "I love you as long as you make me proud," or "as long as you do what we say," or "as long as you do great in school."  Sometimes even, "I love you as long as you spend your life studying in a certain field and become a doctor or lawyer-- what I've imagined for your life, not what you dream of doing."

It's an easy trap to fall into, especially in a society where the media have become so dominant.  We see ideals of people all the time in movies, in ads, on television programs.  We grow used to the idea of what kind of persons we want to have relationships with, and when we meet someone who doesn't meet our ideals, it's easier to try to change the person than it is to accept them as they are or to start over and find someone else.  Many potentially happy relationships and friendships (which are also relationships, of course) are sabotaged early and clearly by one or the other person's desire to change someone into a more "acceptable" partner or friend.

Love is love, and it's not control or manipulation.  When we love people truly, we love and accept them as they are; we don't try to make them what we think they should be or what we want them to be.  When those we love feel that love and are secure in it, they can bloom into the people they're meant to be and thrive knowing that they are loved, and that's a wonderful gift to give to someone else.

Questions to consider:

What does it mean to let someone else truly be who they are meant to be?

Why do so many relationships become about control rather than about love?

What are some of the risks of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in love?  Some of the benefits?  Do the risks and benefits balance?

For further thought:

Using another as a means of satisfaction and security is not love.  Love is never security; love is a state in which there is no desire to be secure; it is a state of vulnerability.


J. Krishnamurti

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