Acceptance and change

Loving people is tricky. We talk about love so flippantly. We treat relationships and people so casually that the lines of love have become blurred, it’s real meaning clouded.

To me, loving completely is a paradox. How do we fully love someone and accept their faults and shortcomings, yet still urge them towards their own self betterment? How can the two objectives live side by side?

Like I said, tricky.

It seems impossible to live with both acceptance and rejection. Accepting the faults with one hand, looking to encourage change with the other.

Yet, love isn’t real unless it is calling us to be our better selves. One thing I take note of when watching a couple is – do they encourage each other to be their best selves? That is a good indicator of real, true, honest love.

Real love does not tolerate behaviour that causes us to deviate from our best self. It embraces all of who we are, whilst simultaneously urging us onto higher living.

To find an example, we only need to look at the parent/child relationship. Parents (well, good parents!) accept their children, warts and all, yet will discipline and correct behaviour  that is not for the good of the child. Any parent of a teenager will have uttered the words “I’m doing this because I love you” and it is true, despite what the teenager thinks at the time!

Loving people in the truest sense does not mean condoning and supporting bad behaviour. That’s not really love at all. There is some truth in the term ‘tough love’. Sometimes love doesn’t feel like love at all.

So the next time the one you love, gently, or not so gently, points out something that might need changing in your character/life, before you react, think about whether that person loves you. They may not be ‘picking’ on you just for the sake of it, or saying you are an all round bad person.

It just might be that it’s their love you are hearing.

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