I just got back from taking mom some candy and a begonia from Tom Thumb. Clearly nothing big deal. Just a little something and it got me thinking about love--what it is and what it's not. For me, love is something that is freely given, not demanded. It comes from a place inside me that overflows with joy and makes me want to share it with others. Love is fun. It makes me laugh, wiggle, cry, and makes memories in my brain of small things that felt BIG. A child's smile, a friend calling for help or for me to just listen, the joy of accompanying someone on their final journey out of this world and doing what I can to make those last days comfortable. Love is peaceful, gentle, beautiful.
Love is NOT painful or hurtful, and if it that's what you are feeling around someone, it's NOT love. A lot of people have this confused. They think it's OK to hurt you and then say they didn't mean it, laugh at your angry response, belittle you for feeling the way you do, or tell you to suck it up. Note to self: Anger is the dignity emotion so if they keep doing something to you that makes you feel angry and hurts you, wake up, honey. That's NOT love. Anyone that repeatedly hurts you does NOT love you, so don't be fooled by that. Once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern so ask yourself: Am I seeing a pattern of behavior that hurts me and if so, do something about it. You do not deserve to be hurt--no one does.
If someone abuses you verbally, physically, mentally, or any other way, they may not be capable of real love so show them the door. Yes, we have to be around unsafe people sometimes BUT as adults, we get to pick and choose when, or even if, we want to be around them at all. So many of us have thought we were just "stuck". You are not. You have options--loads of them--and a big one is to walk away and stay away. Set boundaries. You do not have to accept unacceptable behavior from anybody and guess what? You get to decide what behavior is or isn't acceptable to you. Nobody gets to tell you what's OK for you. Only you get to do that.
Love is open, flexible, and doesn't demand anything of other people. If it does, that's not love, that's control.
And that's just how I see it.