What’s Love Got to Do With It?

What’s love got to do with it?  The famous singer that survived an abusive, alcoholic marriage has announced in 2013 she was getting married after about 30 years of being single.  Love to her meant pain and enslavement.  But that isn’t love.  That is more like unhealthy co-dependance, infatuation and obsession.  Love gets a bad name because people confuse it with emotions.  Love is a principle, not an emotion.

The opposite of love isn’t hatred – it is selfishness.  Of course selfishness often causes hatred.  A truly loving person is one that is generous, patient, kind, attentive to others, thoughtful, a willful listener, etc.  I have to choose to love someone and when I do that, good feelings follow.  Love doesn’t take me hostage and demand that I engage in a relationship with someone.  Obsession has taken me hostage.   Infatuation and lust have taken me hostage but love has never taken my hostage.  When I approach a relationship for what I can get out of it, that is not love – it is selfishness.  When I love someone, I approach the relationship to see what I can give to it.  It has been said that selfish people love things and use people while loving people use things and love people.  What a contrast!

Love can cause a host of emotions.  It can cause someone to mourn.  We see that at funerals.  It can cause someone to feel disappointment.  Perhaps when someone they love fails at a goal they had worked hard for.  Selfishness can also cause a host of emotions.  It can cause anxiety, anger, jealousy, envy, etc.  We are naturally selfish creatures and it takes a spiritual experience to change that.  God is love and it is through a relationship with God that we can learn to love others.  Loving others becomes a choice we make followed by action. 

As a child I never felt loved.  Yet when I wrote my autobiography I was overwhelmed by how much others in my life loved me.  I realized that there were many family and church members that invested emotionally in me.  I hadn’t seen it as a child because I was so damaged by all the dysfunction in the home but as an adult looking back I was deeply impressed by the love that surrounded me.  I think that a lot of time when we don’t feel loved it has more to do with our own state of mind than those around us.  I have found that as I have chosen to actively love others, I have become more aware of how much others love me.

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