Give and Receive Love — Without Showing It
As you may have read on Monday, at first I was pretty disappointed and a little confused when I realized that demonstrative love is regularly rejected in our culture. I sadly lamented the fact to my counselor a few weeks back and she and she made her “I’m surprised you don’t understand this” face at me.
It’s a combination of a tilt of the head, a squint of the eyes and then a grin accompanied by a nod and usually a chuckle, after which, she usually asked me a pointed question that clearly has the goal of broadening my perspective or getting me to think more deeply about the element I’m not getting. Honestly, the more I think about it, the look might just be her thinking really hard about what she’s going to say next.
Either way, her response to my showing love conundrum was to suggest that I just don’t demonstrate my love.
I’m sure I gave her a confused look when she said that.
“What if you were to just open yourself up and love them and feel it and be done?” she asked.
And me, totally confused. I don’t know what I said, but I’m sure I bumbled. I know I balked. I had all sorts of ideas swimming around in my brain that weren’t completely able to be formed into sentences. But the ideas did add up emotionally to me thinking, “No. It doesn’t work like that. It can’t.”
At the moment I didn’t know what all those ideas under the surface were that were creating the negative response. But the past few weeks have given me a little perspective. I know what the ideas are now. And I’m more prepared to possibly reject them. I don’t know where they came from — probably society as a whole as well as rom com movies and lit. I’m sure some of it is from good old Christianity.
But basically — and I didn’t realize that I didn’t believe this — I didn’t believe that love really existed if it wasn’t somehow demonstrated. Like you can’t really love someone if you don’t do something about it. I must have picked up millions of little ideas that have added up in my brain to create this BIG idea that is at odds with the practice of feeling love without demonstrating it.
It has been a pretty blatant teaching for much of my life that it doesn’t matter how much you care about someone or something if you don’t do something about it. And beyond that the idea that it doesn’t matter what you say as much as it matters what you do is also ever-present.
And although the intent of these sentiments is usually good — an effort to get people to be more demonstrative about love — they were screwing me up a bit. At some point my brain had taken it a step further and it was telling me, as I said above, that Love couldn’t exist if weren’t being demonstrated. Unless it were visible somehow.
So this will probably prove to be a HUGE paradigm shift for me and I’m eager (and a little afraid) to see how this develops in me and around me. Of course I’m still mourning the fact that our society doesn’t have much room for frequent demonstrations of love despite all the ideas in the ether that landed on me about how we should all be more demonstrative.
Well, aside from all of the things swarming through my head about whether love exists if you don’t demonstrate it, since my last visit with my counselor, I also had an idea about a socially acceptable way that I can actively and demonstrable love strangers — at Red Lobster. More about that on Friday.