J.S Foer wrote “The more you love someone the harder it is to tell them. It surprised him that strangers didn’t stop each other on the street to say, ‘I love you’” How right he was. As our feelings grow so does fear. What if they don’t love us back? What if these feelings aren’t real? What if our feelings are real and we end up hurting each other?
The more times we have loved the more terrified we are of it. Dotti Smith wrote “I would’ve thought that love was the murderous thing, not the lack of it. I am never going to fall in love. Life is dangerous enough.” The first time I read those words my heart had just been shattered by the first man I gave myself to, who not only left bruises on my heart but also my body.
Wary of the murderous thing that was love, cold and uncaring I locked my heart away refusing to believe that true love existed, it was nothing but a fairy tale for children and I no longer believed the tales of happily ever after.
Love became the enemy. It was love that did the damage. Every man that ever hurt me and proudly announced the words ‘I love you’ never shying away from the promise of forever. I did not investigate their claims of love. I didn’t see the need in dissecting their meaning, I had no reason to believe their definition would not be the same as my own.
Growing up with the bible I clung to the words in first Corinthians. Although I may now disagree with many things the bible says I could never argue with its definition of love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
Maybe it was not love that hurt me. It was the lack of love. Comparing my ex’s acts of ‘love’ with this definition there are very few matches. I’m sure in some way they did love me, but by their own definition not mine. Their kindest biggest act of love was letting me go.
My father loved my mother with this definition. It is not some unrealistic expectation. It is not the thing of fairy tales. People live with this kind of love daily. So why do we shy away from the truth? That it’s not love that hurts us but the lack of love. Why do we constantly blame love for all of our problems, viewing it as a disease that would slowly take over and destroy us?
Love does not murder us, we murder ourselves. We murder our own happiness by not examining the claims of those who say they love us. By taking them on faith alone, and allowing their indecent actions in the name of love.
Love does not behave indecently; it does not look for its own interests. If the person who claims to love you acts in this way, ask yourself ‘Does this person really love me the way I want to be loved?’
Do not allow yourself to be terrified of love; rather be open about what your definition and expectations of love are. Before you are hurt by the lack of it.