• Michael Lints

Love Misunderstood

How do you define love? Is it that feeling for your best friend with whom you can share your deepest darkest secrets? Is it the connection to your family with who you have shared a lifetime? Or is that feeling of ultimate happiness when you have found the perfect life partner? I have been thinking a lot about love lately. Not so much about the definition of love. I am assuming that everyone will have their own interpretation. I want to talk about how people can misunderstand their love for each other. Acts of love have a different meaning to everyone. The most challenging part of loving someone is to understand what loves means to them. Ultimate love in a relationship for me is giving room to each other to grow and having enough space for intimacy. This is a complex balance. How do we know we’re spending enough intimate time together so we don’t grow apart, but stay motivated to grow as individuals? Is my love hindering my partner’s growth?

Over the years, I had amazing friends who loved me for who I was and wanted nothing more than to see me grow. Their intentions were pure, but I wasn’t in the right mental place to love them back equally. I couldn’t get myself to be there as much for them as they were for me. I remember one occasion when my friends tried to convince me of my self-worth and how that was enough for them. While they only said this out of love for me, I refused to believe them. I was convinced I needed validation from other friends, or even strangers, to make me feel worthy. I just couldn’t accept their words were enough. I can still remember seeing the hurt in their face when they realized it wasn’t enough. It was the purest form of love from one person to another, but I couldn’t get myself to love them back with the same purity. Looking back, there was a lot I could have done differently. And perhaps I am compensating now by over communicating. Love misunderstood.

Learning to appreciate love is one. Making sure you balance each other’s expectations when it comes to love is another. For me, it was the most important lesson that helped me love truly and deeply again. Mind you, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I still end up feeling anxious sometimes. Is my love enough? Do they understand I need to be loved? Am I asking for too much? Am I selfish, wanting to be loved deeply? The answers to these questions are not straightforward. Maybe these questions don’t need an explanation. It could be up to you and me to help define love over time. As much as we want to be loved, it is impossible to put it in a box and take it home. Talking about each other’s expectations of love, each other’s wants and needs will help prevent a lot of misunderstanding.

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