People write about love all the time. What is is, what it means, how you know if you love someone.
What I want to talk about is when what you feel is not love, and how not to love someone.
I don’t think we really love someone if we believe we’re entitled to them in any way.
We don’t really love someone if we ignore their feelings and thoughts, if we ignore that they are a different human being with different desires and ideas than us, that they don’t have to function according to our plans.
Most importantly, we need to remember that no one can owe us love or promise us forever. No one can exist or even survive within the limits of our minds. People will grow, people will change. People will never be the ideal image of them we carry around inside our head. We can’t control or own people as if they’re pretty things we are fond of.
If we ignore other people’s inner worlds and their right to exist and move in the world as they wish, if we demand that they fit into our lives in the ways that we find convenient, we do not love them.
If another person is merely an object to us and we don’t understand that they have a separate life and individuality, we cannot love them.
If all of our reactions are based on fear of losing control or possessiveness, we do not love.
Love comes in many ways but the need to control is all about fear. It’s sad how we get them mixed up, even when there are clearly different consequences.
Also published by Elephant Journal as What Love is Not