“If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy. If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing. If she’s worth it, you won’t give up. If you give up, you’re not worthy… Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” — Bob Marley
I’ve had many opportunities to show that I understood this quote. Sometimes I pass, sometimes I don’t. But without question, the hardest times to show love is when the person you love touches a sore spot in you.
It’s one thing when a stranger does it. They aren’t a part of you and you aren’t a part of them. You might be offended but they owe you nothing. You let it go. But when someone you love triggers you, it feels like they did it on purpose even if it’s the first time they did it.
You react, and it just so happens that you flawlessly trigger them in return. It’s amazing when people are the perfect match for irritating one another. It’s uncanny how often it happens.
Now what was once a peaceful existence is a painful one. This love relationship is on standby but it’s not over. Eventually, someone cools down first and administers love to the other. Then the healing can begin.
I don’t believe relationships are necessarily about giving love to another person. Relationships are about relating, and in that relating people get to know each other but they also get to know themselves.
This other person is a mirror and they highlight all the things you love and all the things you hate. Anything that can elicit strong emotion or some similarity will be highlighted. It’s how you learn what you like and dislike. It’s how we learn and gauge our value systems.
But because people think relationships (and especially romantic relationships) are only about getting and giving love, they bypass the vital information they need to make better choices in the relationship or better choices in future relationships.
This person is basically a messenger but you’re not paying attention.
We’d rather defend our perspectives which drives division between us and those we love. We fail to see how we contributed to a problem, and as far as I can tell, there are always at least two contributors to a problem.
It is at this point that the last thing you want to do is love them. But what exactly would loving them entail? It requires stepping into their world and listening to what they have to say. It’s about asking questions so you can understand how they feel.
It’s about refusing the call to isolate yourself so as to strengthen your self-righteousness.
It’s about cultivating the practice of self-awareness before you get into relationships and the inevitable disagreements begin. We do this in order to be able to come clean when they are right and we are wrong.
It’s about realizing that love is a decision. Anybody can act loving when things are going great. You know it’s real when things aren’t going great and you two can acknowledge each other’s sentiments.
You know it’s real when despite how fearful you were to admit something to yourself, you can do it with them because you know you are safe with them, even though you may be angry in the moment.
You know it’s real when you feel the fear that they are about to expose you, but you stay. You understand that they have a message to deliver. Yes, it may be with a tone or in tears, but it’s your blind spot. For your sake, and possibly the sake of the relationship, listen to what they have to say.
For a healthy relationship, love is what you do when love is the last thing you want to do. You’re at a crossroads or you may even be on the path to destruction already; the decision and consistent practice of choosing love in these moments will help you to maintain your relationships that are working and to peacefully let go of those that aren’t.
After all, if you have love to give others, you must have love to give to yourself. If something isn’t working for someone, you wouldn’t want to hold them hostage and you certainly wouldn’t do it to yourself.
Love begets love. That’s how the rich in love get richer.
So the next time you find yourself in a lover’ squabble or even conflict with family or friends, make the decision to listen, be empathetic, wait your turn to speak, consider if there’s something here to learn and forgive — make the decision to love, and make it often.
It could change the trajectory of your life forever because our lives are about our relationships — our relationships with ourselves and our relationships with others.