Archived 9/03

“Why we love, LOVE”

 By Larry John

I love you, Daddy, I love you, sweetheart, I love you, sexy, I love you Jesus, I love you sugar plum, I love you Grandpa, I love you Barbie, I love you Ringo, I love you Father Flanagan, I love you coach, I love you partner, I love you *(you may want to add moms and dads to the love list.) brothers and sisters, I love you friends, I love you Dolly, I love you, I love  you, I love you…  and the list of “I love ‘yous’ ” goes on and on. But it doesn’t stop there.

We take it beyond the screaming of heart, and sometimes direct our “loves” outwardly to material or cosmetic things and say, “I love your hair, I love your legs, I love your eyes, I love your mind, I love your body, I love your music, I love your family, I love your nose, I love your office, I love your car, I love your smile, I love your home, I love your dress, I love your shirt, I love, I love, I love, I love, I love, I love, I love, I love, I love, I love, I love! The fact is, we just love to love. We love our country, our church, our neighborhood, our family, our God, and our “stuff.”  We love New York City. We love the sunset. We love money. We love the sound of birds singing. We love the smell of fresh donuts. We love the taste of avocados. We love the feel of satin sheets. We love our jobs. We love to kiss. We love to walk. We love to go to movies. We love to sleep. We love to be alone. We love to be with people. We love to eat. We love to dress-up. We love to be naked. We love popcorn. We love racquetball. We love the stars. We love massages. We love motorcycles. We love horses. We love dogs, cats, and frogs. We love art, music, nature, people, places, and most any thing you can think of.

But more than all these “loves of life” we learn at an early age that when it comes to humans, people love for us to TELL them that we LOVE them.  Humans love to be loved and we expect people we love to TELL us that they love us, and you don’t have to be very old until you find out that when someone tells you they love you, you are expected to answer back with “I love you, too,” but, why? First, why is it important for we humans to LOVE and secondly why is it important to be loved back? Sure the skeptic in me says, “I don’t care if anyone loves me”…but I do. And it is easy to say, “Hey I don’t have to tell you I love you … you know that I do” but you do have to tell. You DO have to express love to people for two big reasons…. you want to…and they want you to. But it is not just humans who want to express love and receive love back. If you don’t believe that, buy a dog and just try not to love him, and see if he can resist loving you. Sure, there are exceptions, but not many. As we notice by our observation, even animals love to love and be loved. It must be one of those unexplainable laws of life.

But you can’t say the same thing about HATE. In this world of polarities, love is on one end and hate is on the other end. The fact is that most of us hate to be hated and love to be loved. But is the act of loving a “selfless” action or a “selfish” action? Well, it seems to me that the act of loving is more selfish than selfless, in that most of us love to be loved…not just love to love. We expect that if we love, we will get something in return…LOVE. We hate to love if we love and get hated. Many say that LOVING is the “giving of oneself,” when in fact it is the “getting FOR oneself.”  If we don’t get…we don’t give. There is nothing more selfish than loving with the expectation of getting love in return. Love is not a selfless act. Love is a selfish act. There is nothing more selfish than the way most of us love, because we refuse to love unless we get loved back.  We are very impatient with love. If love doesn’t happen immediately we pull back our love and walk away. The way it works is, “I love you, Sally.”

“Well I don’t love you, Larry.”

“Well then I hate you, Sally.”

“What the heck do I care, Larry. I didn’t love you in the first place. I would rather you hate me. I won’t have to see so much of you. I hate it when you love me. You’re always hanging around. I would LOVE you to leave and never come back.”

“Well then, I will love to hate you, Sally.”

“I love the sound of that, Larry”.

The only love that makes sense to me is UNCONDITIONAL love. The kind of love we give and expect NOTHING in return. That kind of love is FUN LOVE, but who is it that we love the least? That’s right, US. The very person we should love the most we love the least. What happened to “love the one you’re with?” Wherever I go, there I am …and I love me the least. One of the secrets to a “complete” life is to learn to love one’s self. But, we spend most of our time loving others and trying to get them to love us. We spend more time getting THINGS to love us, or us to love them, rather than “learning” to love ourselves. I think that it is interesting to note that we love others quite easily, but we have to “learn” to love ourselves. We love others as if it were as natural as breathing, and yet we have to LEARN to love ourselves as if loving one’s self were more like learning to tap dance. You have to start with the “shuffle ball step” and LEARN to advance to “fly wings.” And yes, loving yourself is even harder than learning to tap dance. Millions learn to tap dance, while very few of us learn to love ourselves.

Most of us love to fall in love with love, but as we know, there is nothing more painful than risking love and not being loved back. What if we were to try to love ourselves, only to find out it was impossible? We would hate that. Yet many of us do exactly that. We love so that others will love us (a selfish act) and can’t stand being around ourselves, let alone love ourselves. Perhaps the greatest risk of all is falling in love with one’s self.  We want to say “I love you, too,” but that is a response that must be learned. To love one’s self is the greatest and most rewarding love of all. It is also the hardest love to “earn” as we “learn.” Think about it… because you can.