“Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun, like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” –Fred Rogers
Over the years, we form a lot of ideas about what love is, oftentimes based on unrealistic hopes and standards. We learn what we think it’s supposed to look like, and we may find ourselves frustrated when reality falls short.
It often does. Love can be messy, confusing, and imperfect, just like us, and life itself.
What Hallmark cards don’t always tell us is what love isn’t, but sometimes we need to strip away ideals in order to understand and appreciate what’s real.
Love isn’t always patient. Sometimes we get short, brusque, or frustrated with the people we love the most. Love is, however, recognizing that, taking a few deep breaths, and then doing our best to see the people we care about with compassion and understanding.
Love isn’t always kind. Sometimes we say things we later regret to the people we love the most. Love is, however, recognizing that, taking responsibility, and then doing our best to be caring and considerate in our future interactions.
Love isn’t always selfless. Sometimes we fail to consider the needs of the people we love the most. Love is, however, recognizing that, taking their feelings into account, and then doing our best to find a balance between giving and taking.
Love isn’t always trusting. Sometimes we doubt the people we love the most. Love is, however, recognizing that, taking a close look at where our suspicions really come from, and then doing our best to see the best in people instead of assuming the worst.
Love sometimes envies. Love is sometimes easily angered. Love sometimes keeps a record of wrongs. Love does all these things because we sometimes do these things.
Acknowledging this doesn’t mean condoning it; it means recognizing that love doesn’t cure us of our natural human tendency to make mistakes.
Love doesn’t fail because we mess up from time to time. It fails when we fail to accept that we all do, and then think something is wrong instead of making things right.
Love isn’t life without conflict. It’s about wanting and working to overcome it together.
Photo by Alice Popkorn