Posted on April 11, 2018 by Jaimie Engle
For many, the idea that we should all love one another and get along invokes a warm, fuzzy feeling that just isn’t reality. Most people have no idea what the true meaning of love is. They equate love to a feeling, when love is a verb. Even that’s not enough of a description. To say you love something is wrong. Love is for people, animals, souls. Not stuff. It’s become such a commonplace word that it might as well be as taboo as other 4-letter words we’re told NOT to utter.
What’s the matter with love?
Nothing at all. The problem lies when you say, “I love my car.” Do you really LOVE your car? You’ve just stripped value away from the word. Even saying you love someone if you really don’t understand what love means deludes the word of its meaning. With kindness on the forefront of social media buzz, kids especially expect their ideology to alight like wildfire and spread love through kindness around the globe. On paper, it sounds incredible and something we can all agree upon: who doesn’t want peace and love? In reality most people define love as acceptance, and it’s a one-way street. Their love says, “You accept me and agree with me, but don’t expect that in return.” The assumption is that if you don’t behave the way you’re “supposed” to, you have set yourself outside the boundaries of the kindness fad and aren’t deserving of love.
“What are you, a love expert?”
I am not an expert in anything. I am a human trying to be the best I can be, and many times I fail. What I do know is that kindness cannot happen without love, and love is something that needs to be described in greater detail. Love is:
This is not what I see on social media when I share an opinion. This is not what I see when I drive down the road. I do not see people exhibiting patience, kindness, or thoughtfulness on a daily basis equally offered to everyone they come across. I don’t see it between kids in schools when I have author visits to talk about bullying. I don’t see it between kids in the neighborhood. I don’t see it when I look in the mirror. I hear about it everywhere, but I don’t see it…and LOVE is an action.
How can we as a society expect to exist in love and harmony when we haven’t a clue what that means or what it looks like once we’ve achieved it? What we’re enduring instead is a delusion, a fantasy, a fiction where we decide what we want selfishly and call it love, forcing everyone to comply and banning those who do not. That is the opposite of love:
The truth is that if we act out in any of the above-mentioned ways, we are NOT acting in a spirit of LOVE. If our motivations are not from the first list of what love is, then they are most assuredly from the second list of what love is not. And you know the worst part? As adults, we are modeling incorrect behavior for the next generation under the name of love, which is now just another 4-letter word.
My mother used to say, “What one generation accepts, the next embraces.”
What lies about LOVE have we accepted that the next generation has embraced? With wars, guns, violence, and bullying running rampant in all sects of society, where has all the love gone; the real love, the tolerant, patient, kind, thoughtful love that never fails and never gives up? Have we forgotten how to model this behavior behind the wheel of our vehicle? In our marriage? In our relationship with our children? Have kids even learned the correct way to tolerate one another or have they been taught that if someone loves you they will not hurt you? This is a lie. Have they been taught that if someone loves you they will agree with you always? This is a lie. Have they been taught that if it gets tough, you should walk? This is the biggest lie.
Our perception of love is wrong, and this misconception has caused the power and truth that love conquers all to become a joke hidden beneath a blanket of intolerance. It’s time we look inward and explore our own behavior. Are we patient with one another, forgiving without condition? Are we kind even in the midst of haters’ attacks? Are we thoughtful as we move through our days, even when those around us take advantage? If the answers are no, then we are not filled with love, and a world without love will only breed disaster.
It’s time we take control of ourselves and really fight to become human beings who truly love one another. Otherwise, the intolerant hatred we see today will never have a chance of becoming our past because our future will be built upon it. In the infamous words of Forest Gump, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.”