A slightly late post for Valentine’s Day that’s not about being single or family love or self care!
There was something in my post Why not just reconcile?, there was one part my sister told me she really liked.
“You shouldn’t aim to be better than someone else, you should aim to be as good as you can be. As loving, as pure, as brave, as wise, and then you have no real limit, you can always grow.”
We talking about that, and I said “Love is exponential.”
What I meant by that, is that we tend to weigh and balance love by certain standards.
It’s kind of what Valentine’s day has become hasn’t it. You got to do the flowers, candy, stuffed animals, and if you have an SO, you got to have holiday sex (I might be a sheltered homeschooler, but I know how it goes, I read books. Yes, I’m aware that flex just makes me sound more sheltered, but it is like that for real.)
Great day for me, right, single since birth?
Well, like many people, I chose to look at the day as a day to remember to think of anyone I love. I get my family chocolates or cards, usually candy, since my card making skills suck and buying that stuff is pricey.
So, I don’t get depressed on Valentine’s Day, but it does remind me how we have commercialized everything now, how we put pressure on ourselves to love on just certain days of the ear.
I am all for holidays, St. Valentine is someone I look up to, anyone who stands up for love and marriage tot he point of death is going to be important to a romantic such as myself. I love the idea of having a day just to remember love.
What I don’t love is that holidays are often not just the public day of love, but the only private day of it for many people.
I read in a book once about one couple who’s kids were all born in November because Valentine’s Day was one of their only sex days, that’s just not right.
Not that sex has to be present if both partners are not physically able to have it, but if they are, then that’s just sad.
And that’s the problem. What’s the use of paying lip service to Love, literally (sorry that joke was horrible) on one day if you ignore our family the other days.
I also don’t like the Single’s Awareness Day jokes, because to me it disrespects the whole thing, very selfishly. You don’t have to be married or dating to value marriage or dating, in fact, if you only value those thins when you have them, you don’t value them truly for unselfish reasons.
Spending a day getting jealous of all your not-single friends is hardly encouraging you to think of Love on better terms.
And Love goes beyond that romantic kind. That stuff is really good, but it’s not the only thing.
Though, I will say, we are undervaluing even the erotic side of love these days.
If you read Song of Solomon, you’ll see that even our ideas of sex are far short of the Bibles in terms of the adoration between lovers and the purity of sex when it’s done right, ad the sheer joy of loving each other so deeply. I don’t see that too much anymore.
I think there are times, as C. S. Lewis even said, that you have to encourage your desire for sex with your spouse. That may be the most important thing to do at that time.
But any one with half a heart ought to see that’s really something you do because you have a deeper love that goes beyond your own conveniences or wishes.
And that’s what I wanted to talk about.
As a culture, as humans, we are just bad at love. There’s two songs, and at least one Webtoon titled that that i know of, and far more people who’d admit they suck at relationships.
Fear of Commitment
Fear of Intimacy
Baggage (usually the reason for all of the above)
Do you know anyone who’s GREAT at Love?
If I do, it’s not many people. I know far more people who wish the were better at it, and even more who probably don’t even think about it being the most important thing in life.
This was brought to my mind even more by a conversation with my 10 year old cousin last week.
Ever since I started tutoring/mentoring her this kid has been giving me crap, throwing tantrums, trying to guilt me and blame me for all her stress and insecurities being triggered, and saying she’ll talk to her parent about it.
Of course she has no idea who she’s dealing with, I’ve heard all this before, multiple times.
Last week, she admitted to ling to me the whole week because she doesn’t like me being there, watching her. I told her I was disappointed to hear this since we had talked about trust. I asked her how I was supposed to believe her when she told me stuff, if she had lied to me for 3 days straight just to get around me.
She didn’t honestly have an answer to that, and I didn’t expect one.
But she got very emotional and finally she said “I’m just bad at love” or “being loved.” Like how she doesn’t always want hugs when she’s emotional, and how she used to be good at making friends, and now she’s not (thanks to some mean kids beginning to bully her).
Unfortunately, her home environment can be toxic too, her parents aren’t so bad, but their relatives and friends constantly expose the kids to ridicule over very minor mistakes that has caused both of my cousins to shut down in different ways. They are more open around us, but sometimes do the same thing if we ever show displeasure or disagree with them. To them, that means mockery is coming, though we never mock them ourselves.
I know how they feel, my dad subjected me to many humiliating experiences, and so do my relatives on their side of the family. I have never been comfortable around them, now that I am an adult, I’ve grown stronger and I usually am left alone by the relatives, but it took years to get to that point, and when you live in it, what do you expect?
That sad thing is, this is hardly abnormal now. In fact, my aunt and uncle are still above average parents, but they don’t have a clue how to do positive reinforcement. I support discipline, but not exclusively, it’s too discouraging. Giving people digs is just normal in our day and age in America, and I can’t change that myself singlehandedly.
But I am left to deal with the effects of it, because my cousin is to scared to confront her actual parents, so she projects it all onto me because I am nicer to her, and more considerate. When she got fed up and said she’s “bad at love” I was remind of myself.
I didn’t talk to anyone about it, but when I was even younger than her, I had trouble feeling love, and I thought there was something wrong with me. Looking bad, I did feel love when I was 4 or 5, but my anxiety and other fears took over sometime after that, though I remained affectionate for a while, til my dad’s treatment squelched it mostly. Then in my teens and pre-teens, it got really bad, with my dad actively trying to give me a complex. I only got through it because I came to Christ at 13 and began to mature in Love.
Love has always bee my primary focus as a Christian, when I came to Christ, I had been seeking out the truth about love, without even knowing it, reading certain books, watching things, and trying to understand. Once that change happened, the world became alive for me. I remember one of the first things was I began to enjoy Nature, I never cared much about it before, but I did after that, I read in “Hind’s Feet on High Places” of the same thing happening to Hannah Hurnard. I’ve known my sisters to have the same experience too.
Without love and life in us, it’s no wonder we turn to the over stimulus of electronics. It’s hard to be in Nature when you can’t love problem, it tends to remind you how empty you are.
Maybe it’s because real things cost us so much.
A fake bouquet can be bought for a dollar, a real one is going to cost you. Fake gold is cheap, real gold isn’t. Fake jewels, fake cards, everything digital and plastic is less expensive.
And somehow, less satisfying. Even the chocolate that’s cheap just doesn’t’ taste as good and we savor it less.
My cousin is a kid growing up in a culture obsessed with fake love. To the point where it’s semi-normal to have imaginary waifus and husbandos, and ou can get a certificate of marriage to an anime character, and be in a dating sims with one too.
I saw this dumb pick up line on Webtoon yesterday as part of some weird Valentine’s Day special “I’ll be your body pillow”
Do NOT look that up if you didn’t get it, it’s not worth it. I only know because I watch other fans talk about shows.
Hey, I am not knocking fictional romance, it’s actually therapy for me. At least seeing better examples of love than I saw growing up gives me hope. I know it’s not all like a story, but if it could even be partially like that, that’s way better than what I saw.
But, at some point, you have to get up and go put this into practice. You have to try to be the kind of supportive friend you read about, or boyfriend, or girlfriend.
The main thing that stops us is FEAR.
Fear and Love just do not go togheter.
Why don’t I confess to my crush? I am afraid of losing a friend, and humiliating myself.
1 John 4:18 says “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, for fear has torment.”
I was tormented by love growing up in a toxic house, and it’s gets complicated.
I believe in the sacredness of Love so much that few things seem worse to me than twisting it into a tool. That’s why my favorite books is “Till We Have Faces” which contrasts holy and profane love with each other.
Profane Love, as the MC of the book says “Can grow to be nine tenths hatred and still call itself Love.”
No one likes to be loved like this, but all of us can fall into the trap of loving this way if we don’t watch ourselves.
I read a Webtoon that also illustrated this well, called “Freaking Romance.”
In this story, a girl and guy from different dimension find each other and fall in love, but the girl resists it because she hates love. “Love” was what her abusive father called it when he controlled her and stole form her and tried to force things on her. Reading that part was difficult for me, some of it was almost word for word what my own dad would say. Down to the fake apologies and gifts.
The guy i this story had an abusive mom, and in one of the best episodes of the comic, he tells another girl with a toxic past, that broken people tend to be drawn to each other, wanting to fix each other’s pain and thereby fix their own, and that can be good, with two people who truly want to be better, such as him and the MC, but in other cases, it can feed into it and recreate the cycle, which is far more common, sadly.
But he wants to be the kind of guy who heals. And the MC ends up falling for that despite her misgivings.
The story rather maturely acknowledges that her mistrust is more becaue of her own past than anthin the guy ever does. Wehn they finally decise to give it a shot, she learns to try to giv emore.
Spoiler alert if you want to read it:
At the climax, Zylith is given the change to be with Zelen forever, if she will get everything she ever wanted, ad then give it up just to be with him. it’s important, because she’s constantly chosen her career over love, and hesitated to to change her mind, even in a crisis. Zylith agrees, gets all that, ad finally gets to return to Zelen. He tells her he’d never ask her to give all that up for him,and she shouldn’t have to.
she replies that though it was great to get allt hat, it wasn’t satifuing, becuase she didn’t ahve him. And she makes an efoort after that to be a giver, not just a tkaer.
Notably, the cosmic forces at work in the story were firm but fair. IF you can’t give our all at love, why be in a relationshp?
That does not mean everone needs to be able to love like that gong into a rleationship, I don’t think any human being starts off that way, myself.
IT means that no matter where ou start from, ou give it all you can there.
That could mean taking our steps to get off an addiction, going to therapy for your mental health, and getting rid of your toxic influences. All that is love, if you do it to become a better person. And don’t ask your SO to fix you.
On the other hand, for some of us, it’s letting our SO help us, and support us, being honest with them, and working not to take out our issues on them when they tr to help. That is also love.
Love is not really about whether you give or you take from an outward standpoint. In true Love, giving and taking become indistinguishable.
Giving a service to someone is a gift, but receiving it is also a gift, I’ve learned that form personal experience, real love is never selfish, whether it gives or takes, because in a way, it is always giving, and always taking, since you get pleasure form loving.
Love then, is just a way of life. It is life. No one without love is really living.
The Bible doesn’t say that in so many words, because the Bible assumes the truth of that. God requires us to Love each other in order to be holy, and to love Him in order to please Him, but he doesn’t demand it. It is simply what we’re told will actually make us right again.
All God does is Love, and if the Bible reiterated that, it’d be every time God is mentioned. Though it does not always look like love to us, that doesn’t matter.
And truly good people do all they do out of love of some sort. That’s just the truth.
I’d tell you all what I told my cousin, for me, there is not way to stop being Bad at Love except through God. That is all that changed me, and all that does now, and all that kept me from becoming toxic.
With that, I think I’ll wrap this up. Happy Love Celebration Day, stay honest–Natasha.
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