I am twenty years old. So…What do I know about love?
Well, this is what I know from experience (I will get into the experiences later)…
True love is selfless. It is without conditions. It is a source of encouragement. A place of support. Love is where there isn’t a record of how many times I have done wrong. Love is a place. Love is a place of comfort, a place of renewal, and a place where we find hope.
The question, “What is love?” is always on my mind. Really though… always.
It is such a dense question, because love is an action, not merely a feeling.
Love looks like something. always.
It can look like waking up early to pick up your friend from the airport.
Or writing a note to a friend, just a reminder of how great they are.
Love looks like making time for people.*****
It looks like doing laundry for the displaced in the community.
Love is when someone else becomes a priority. Which can look like, staying up an hour late to tutor someone, or finding time in the day to simply make someone a meal.
Love is action. Love is an act of honor.
Honoring who they are, where they are at in life, and with a heart set on meeting them right there, in that moment…through an act of selflessness without any conditions.
And sometimes loving is hard. Especially to do so without conditions.
We live in a society where we want instantaneous progress and we want gratification in that specific moment. So if we might not see instant gratification in loving someone well…we might feel unappreciated or we don’t see the impact an action has made…this can make love hard.
Cool thing is, this kind of love takes us out of our comfort zone in which society will tell us…focus on yourself, your own goals…Western culture punches a ‘me-orientation’ stamp into our brains…but this…this love is challenging because it puts us in a situation that isn’t really about us, and it isn’t about personal gratification that we all want instantaneously.
It isn’t about us. That is what makes it challenging. There is no instantaneous reward, and there is no promise that we will see the benefits of how we love someone, what we do for other people…but does that make it wrong?
No. It makes it the perfect definition of what love really is.
Selfless and unconditional.
For love to be unconditional, love can’t be based on emotions…
Which to a lot of people probably makes no sense I understand that.
Here is my perspective:
Emotions and feelings are conditional. We feel a certain way based on the situations and events around us. There are going to be more than many times when a spouse, a best friend, a family member, an acquaintance…will do something or induce something that makes us hesitate how we feel about them in that moment…this is conditional.
True love, selfless love, is unconditional.
Honestly, I think the philosophy…people should get what they deserve, or the whole, “Why should I treat them with respect if I am not given the decency of any respect from them?” How is this mindset going to make a difference for anyone or anything?
Answer: It won’t.
I want to make a difference.
I do not know exactly what that looks like in my relationships I have today or will have in the future.
I do not know if I will ever see the difference I made in the lives of others…
So why do I feel so strongly about this selfless and unconditional love I keep blabbering about?
Here is why:
There have been times where I was not grateful, I was not acknowledging what others had been doing for me and what kind of sacrifices they made for me. I did not appreciate any of it, yet these amazing and inspiring people still chose to love me anyways…
One great example, which I know a lot of people can relate to, some can’t specifically, but there is more than likely someone else you could think of that in some way relates to her role in my life…my mom.
My mom is one of the strongest people I know. She is the hardest worker I know. She is the kindest person I know. She is the most inspiring person I have ever had come into my life. She has sacrificed more than I know for me, my education, my goals, my dreams, and my hobbies.
Back in the day, and even sometimes to this day, I was the typical brat high school teenager who had no idea what she was saying or how hurtful they were. Actually…I knew, but I was careless. I said what I wanted and treated my mom how I wanted. I gave her the backlash of my own frustrations daily. Not once did I truly show my appreciation for what she has done for me.
So what has she done for me?
Well other than giving birth to me and giving me the opportunity for this life, she has financially supported me through hobbies and sports such as horseback riding, soccer, swim, yoga, and softball. She has taken time off to take care of me when I needed her. She has driven hours on hours to watch me play in tournaments or visit me while I am in school, especially when I needed a break. She has listened to numerous pointless breakdowns where I was being a drama queen. My mom has painfully watched me make my own decisions knowing they might not have been the best for me at the time, but knowing I needed to make those mistakes. She has stayed up all night in worry to make sure I would get home safely. My mom has talked me through anxiety attacks in the wee hours of the morning. She has built my self-esteem and provided me with an example of what hard work looks like, what perseverance is, and she has shown me how to be a strong woman.
She has been this example to me, this listening ear, this encourager I depend on, and my financial supporter for the last twenty years…even through the years of nonexistent gratitude, selfishness, unnecessary backlash, and unending hateful words…she has never ceased unconditionally loving me the hardest she can, as selflessly as she can…
I want to be that person to someone else one day. I want to be the person who doesn’t need acknowledgement, and even though I am tired and might feel unappreciated, I love hard with a selfless heart, unconditionally and ALWAYS.
She is why I want to love people with the love she has for me.
Because the difference she has made in my life, inspires me to make a difference in someone else’s life.
I want to love hard, love well, love selflessly, love unconditionally to those around me…
to make people feel as special, worthy, and as significant as my mom has for me.
Through her love she has shown me that I am worth something, something more than I think I deserve…and I desperately, within the deepest parts of my heart…want other to people to feel that way too.
I love you mom.