Some Hard Facts About Love

One thing I cannot abide in my life is people who morally condemn me for not loving them. 

Love, genuine love, is not born of obligation, moral or otherwise. Love is, instead, a terribly personal desire to associate and affiliate. It grows out of one's own private observations and judgments of another person. And if it does not grow, no degree of admonishment, threat, or moralizing will cause it to grow. 

Those who expect you to love them because they say you should, are trying to get you to substitute their judgment for your own. And to get you to comply, they almost always appeal to a mystical authority like God or "karma". 

Rather than being someone you'd actually love, they instead try to get you to feel a fear of not loving the people you supposedly should.

Let us be clear. Love is a personal choice, and it exists or does not exist, completely independent of whether any person is a member of your family. Family members do not get, or deserve, automatic love from every other family member. Even within a family, moral codes and personal values diverge, and so family members might end up not loving each other. 

If you don't love a family member, admit it. Don't be ashamed. Don't be nasty. Just admit it, and move on.

How can you get love, then? That's a big question. But in this short essay, I can certainly identify two ways in which you cannot get love. One of these ways has already been indicated: you can never shame someone into loving you. That's simply impossible. If you feel you deserve someone's love, but you aren't getting it from them, you have only two choices: change what you do, or walk away. Never hold it in your mind that someone else should become more accepting of who you are. 

If you want a particular person's love, you have no choice but to meet their standard. Attempting to change their standard is futile, and it will destroy what little respect they have left for you. Change or walk. 

The other way never to get love from someone is to sacrifice for their sake. Never give up what you want out of life to bribe another person into loving you. Ideally, a person should love you for what you love. But if you give up what you love for the sake of affiliation, you are destroying what makes you lovable. This can only end in failure, for eventually you'll have nothing left to be loved for. 

You might end up thinking you deserve to be worshiped for all of your past sacrifices, right at the time that your lover becomes completely bored with you because you are a doormat. 

A special caution to parents, here: Do not become a doormat for your children. Don't make them your life's purpose. You will lose their respect, and maybe their love too. No child wants to be the only thing a parent loves. Children want parents who love lots of things. 

Finally, to tie this all together: Never become the doormat that strikes back. If you sacrifice your life for the sake of being loved, and this backfires on you, you may be angry at the world for steering you wrong, you may be angry at others for not meeting your expectations, you may be angry at all the people you want love from, but the fault has been all your own. 

Trying to spread the guilt around will not earn you love. Don't squander your life on being loved. Loving life is much, much more important than being loved by anyone, and it's the only chance you have for being truly loved at all.

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