This post is by far my most read entry to date. I should have started tracking how many hits it gets a day. Alas! I did not. I do feel it is time for it to be revisited. I am reposting it as it was originally... having resisted the urge to proofread or make correction. Not easy for me. Enjoy. Read. Answer.
To Love and be Loved is to feel the sun from both sides. ~David Viscott
Do you prefer to Love or be Loved?
It sounds like a relatively simple question. It isn’t. Think about it. Ponder it. Dig deep. Initial reaction is to respond with “a bit of each,” but that doesn’t count. It’s cheating. As humans, we have an inherent nature to do both, but I can guarantee that if you spend enough time in introspection you will discover that your preference does indeed lean in one direction or the other. To Love? To be Loved?
In order to answer the question honestly and with reflection you may find it necessary to do a little research or, at the very least, define Love as you know it. We are bombarded by sources of information daily, hourly, minute-by-minute in our society that claim what Love is and what it can be for you and how to find it. Do me a favor. Pay close attention. Don’t allow yourself to be led astray. Even my favorite location for word knowledge, the dictionary, is not going to help you with this one. Trust me. Look up ‘Love’ in that esteemed tome and you will likely be disappointed. Here is a taste:
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child or friend
3. sexual passion or desire
No wonder we’re all screwed up. There are a myriad of definitions for ‘Love’ in the dictionary but not one of them comes close to how I perceive it. First of all, ‘Love’ is a verb (not a noun) and the only definition given as such within the dictionary (without an object) is, “to have Love or affection for another person; be in Love.” Oh yeah! That’s a big help. Love is a choice. It can be created. To be able to create something is a powerful action. It isn’t simply about affection, feelings, passion and desire. In true Christian fashion (because some things are just ingrained) I flipped from the page that defined ‘Love’ to the word ‘Agape’ just to see what it said. I skipped past the “Love of God for humankind” part and to the relevant definition: unselfish Love of one person for another without sexual implications. Well, it is closer. I know. I know. Right about now you are referencing I Corinthians 13 in your head, aren’t you? Yeah. Me too.
Back to the initial question: Do you prefer to Love or to be Loved?
Me? I’m a Lover. Why? It’s simple. I’m a coward. It’s easier to Love. It’s far simpler for me to give Love. What? It’s true. As long as I’m giving of my Love than the focus is on the individual who is receiving the Love … not me. Mother Teresa once said, “The success of Love is in the Loving – it is not in the result of Loving. Of course it is natural in Love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.” To me, the relationship my ultimately fail, but if I give of myself … if I Love as I know I can Love … then my Love has had value. It has meant something to someone.
Those individuals who can answer with 100% honesty that they prefer to be Loved are much braver than I. Robert Frost wrote, “Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.” There is some truth in that. We all want to be Loved. However, to truly allow someone to Love you all barriers have to be dropped. Walls must be broken down. You must allow yourself to be vulnerable. I detest my vulnerability. Again, I am a coward. I don’t like to let people in. I am worn out. I am tired. I am jaded. I have been hurt one too many times. I have misjudged what Love really is one too many times. Ultimately, my inability to let those who would Love me into the deepest core of my being will result in my loss. Who knows what I will miss because I allowed myself to be caught in the ‘Illusion of Love’ too often.
Deepak Chopra penned the following on http://www.intentblog.com/:
“Part of success is not becoming caught in life’s illusions. A fool for Love …
To create a fantasy and fall in Love with it is folly, to become trapped in an illusion, in Love with your own projection. It also makes one vulnerable to those that would fuel it. Soon reality impedes upon the illusion, crumbling it, and one becomes distraught and who you thought they were, was only in your mind, or what one thought was, is not. I guess the desire to be in Love can blind one to reality. Better to not create a fantasy and live in the present being aware of those that would feed the fictions in your mind. Most relationships are really just an illusion.”
Do you prefer to Love?
“Because when we Love, we always strive to become better than we are.”
Do you prefer to be Loved?
“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.”
“Love is as much of an object as an obsession, everybody wants it everybody seeks it, but few ever achieve it. Those who do will cherish it, be lost in it, and among all, will never … never forget it.” ~Unknown
“You know when I said I knew little about Love? That wasn't true. I know a lot about Love. I've seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate... It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind Loves... You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that Love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and... What I'm trying to say, Tristan is... I think I Love you. Is this Love, Tristan? I never imagined I'd know it for myself. My heart... It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it's trying to escape because it doesn't belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing in exchange - no fits. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you Loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.” ~Stardust, Film (2007)