Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do We Hoard Our Words?

Wedding season is upon me, I took these engagement pics on Saturday, see my photo blog for full, fun coverage.

I adore you, you're amazing, you delight me, I can't get enough of your company, wow, you are wearing those specs, your smile is radiant, you're hot, I cherish your friendship, I wish we could talk all night long, and most importantly.....I love you.

When was the last time you said these words without expecting anything in return?

When was the first time you told someone you loved them?

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

When you say, "I love you" do you expect something in return? Can you love someone without them loving you back? And without feeling bad about it? (and not in the teenage, unrequited love idea, because you are ALWAYS expecting something day) If you are secure enough in your love for yourself, should you shout it to the world when you love someone? But we don't, at least, I don't. Not at all. I have NEVER told someone who I felt romantic feelings of love for that I "loved" them.....the closest I came was "liked"...and that's lame, because I did love him.

Here's a story:

I want you to imagine that you live on a planet where everyone has a skin disease. For two or three thousand years, the people on your planet have suffered the same disease: Their entire bodies are covered by wounds that are infected, and those wounds really hurt when you touch them. Of course, they believe this is a normal physiology of the skin. Even the medical books describe this disease as a normal condition. When the people are born, their skin is healthy, but around three or four years of age, the first wounds start to appear. By the time they are teenagers, there are wounds all over their bodies.

Can you imagine how these people are going to treat each other? In order to relate with one another, they have to protect their wounds. They hardly ever touch each other's skin because it is too painful. If by accident you touch someone's skin, it is so painful that right away she gets angry and touches your skin, just to get even. Still, the instinct to love is so strong that you pay a high price to have relationships with others.

Well, imagine that a miracle occurs one day. You awake and your skin is completely healed. There are no wounds anymore, and it doesn't hurt to be touched. Healthy skin you can touch feels wonderful because the skin was made for perception. Can you imagine yourself with healthy skin in a world where everyone has a skin disease? You cannot touch others because it hurts them, and no one touches you because they make the assumption that it will hurt you.

If you can imagine this, perhaps you can understand that someone from another planet who came to visit us would have a similar experience with humans. But it isn't our skin that is full of wounds. What the visitor would discover is that the human mind is sick with a disease called fear. Just like the description of the infected skin, the emotional body is full of wounds. The manifestation of the disease of fear is anger, hate, sadness, envy, and hypocrisy.

Humans live in a continuous fear of being hurt. Even saying "I love you" can be frightening. WHY???

Discussion on Love Number One (Steph, I am sorry all my post are about love, it can get icky, I get it!)


With fear we do things because we expect that we have to, and we expect that others are going to do the same. That is why fear hurts and love doesn't hurt. We expect something and if it doesn't happen, we feel hurt--it isn't fair. We blame others for not fulfilling our expectations. When we love, we don't have expectations; we do it because we want to. When we don't expect something to happen, if nothing happens, it's not important. We don't feel hurt, because whatever happens is okay. That is why hardly anything hurts us when we are in love; we aren't expecting that our lover will do something, and we have no obligations.

This is where I have always run into trouble, I think, when I start to fall in love with someone, and they present a certain side to me, I create other things that naturally would go with that person, and I almost create that person a little bit to fit my needs. Then I expect that person to meet the expectations that I have created, when it is not in that person at all to meet those needs.

That's why it is so important to be authentic with people. That's why it is so important to be responsible for your own happiness, your own self-love, and not need to search anywhere else to find it.

However, that being said, it is totally unexpected and delightful and amazing and hot and radiant when you are completely happy on your own, and you aren't needing someone else to fulfill your needs or adore you, but they do anyway.


HappyWifeHappyLife said...

I'm telling you...... once again, I'm convinced it's not a lovely blonde woman writing this.... oh no. It's that sage old hunchback cave-dwelling hermit with leaves and twigs sticking out of his beard..... :-)

Excellent thought-provoking thoughts (as always), D'Arcy.... I shall ponder and return to comment when the intense pain in my head subsides.....

Alisa said...

First of all, fabulous wedding photos. I love the settings at the library and (Liberty?) park. My favorite is the one where they're smiling with their faces very close. I also love the great cropping, including the one where they're kissing in front of the library directory and the one with the canoe.

I like the question about return of love. I recently got in an argument with someone. In order to make peace and apologize, I really had to tap into the love I have for her, even though we've never been super close and "love" is a weird way to put it. I guess this love is manifested in my empathy for her point of view, my understanding, and my willingness to forgive her without ever expecting an apology in return. I think that I am lucky enough to be tapped in to love for her, without any expectation of return of love or respect. I wouldn't tell her I love her, but I have told her I'm sorry she's having a hard time and I do feel terrible on her behalf for her hurt.

On a related note, the unconditional love of my friends, who are gracious to me despite my mistakes and shortcomings, have allowed me the safety net I need to be able to love someone else without expectation of that return. It's where I've drawn my strength.

And what about children? With their limited experiences, they have limited kinds of love. But we as adults have a broader experience and can (and should) love them in more ways than they can love us without expecting that level in return. This scenario extends further to loving populations of people we've never met, or even when we're interacting with animals as well who can never love in a human capacity. (I know, it sounds stupid, but it's always on my mind as a cat keeper).

Sugar said...

The fear you are describing are typical of codependents and love-addicts. It sounds ridiculous unless of course you have BEEN a codependent and love addict. People that suffer have been mentally, physically, or sexually abused and tend to have a completely distorted view of human love because of the sin of another human being. It's hard to break that cycle of abuse and victimization if the person has never known anything different.

I know what I'm talking about. ;)

Sugar said...

ooops... hit send before I could finish my thought... anyway, so the way that I found my way out of my rabbit hole was through a God. Not the mean God that I learned about when I was a kid that was all pointing and accusing. No... I mean the REAL God that is merciful and kind.

I have been attending a program called Celebrate Recovery and becoming the whole functioning person I was created to be. I tell you this publicly because that's the place I'm in today. I am open and honest about my struggles so that if anyone were to come upon my story, they might see that there is more...

Thanks, D'Arcy for bringing up this topic. I was going to start focusing more on that on my blog, but wasn't sure when to start. Seems you've just kicked me in the tookas.


HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Sugar, that's so cool that you bring up Celebrate Recovery! We were just talking about that last night in my small group! I hear it's an awesome support network.

D'Arcy, this was an excellent post.

Here are my thoughts on love. God's law is summed us thusly:
1) Love God. 2) Love others, including yourself. That's pretty much it, in a nutshell. (Now if the world would just DO THAT, wouldn't it be nice???)

As far as fear, REAL love casts out fear.

You have some really excellent thoughts, and truly, each of your thoughts is like its own opening blossom and could open into its own full topic/posting.

(Really, it's such a shame we can't have this discussion face-to-face over coffee.... or some good wine.... I would love that!)

Gustav said...

Dear D'Arcy

Saying "I love you" is something I say every night to my daughter before she goes to sleep.

I have said "I love you" to a few of my closest friends many times.

I live far away from my two brothers and Mom and so at the end of each conversation by phone I say "I love you".

The last time I saw my Dad before I moved to Australia I gave him a hug and said "I love you Pa" never knowing that this was the last time I was going to say good bye.

One of my favourite Van songs has the following lines:

"Have I told you lately that I love you? Have I told you there is nobody else above you?".

I reckon that is a beautiful thing to say to someone you love romantically.

Yet is is still hard to say "I love you" - especially when it is early in a romantic relationship. There is the fear that the other person will not reciprocate along with other fears such as this is getting too serious etc.

In the end we all probably don't say I love you enough. There is a saying in Japanese that one should say each goodbye as if it were your last since we never know when the last time will be, except one day it will be the last. Hence saying "I love you" when saying Good Bye to close friends and family is a good idea.

Finally, I do think the words "I love you" need to be used with discretion, for if the words are handed out like junk food, they lose their meaning.

D'Arcy said...

HWHL: Thank you for always bringing God into our discussions. I am having some stripping away of what I used to believe in God, so I am trying to rebuild that, and everything you say, I used to believe in, and when you say it again, it's nice to look inside myself and say, "yep, that still rings very true for me."

Alisa: it was so good seeing you last night, so good to have our discussion(s) and so warming to have you in my home. I know this experience at work has been hard for you, but I am sure I proved to you last night that we are all fallible and we all make mistakes and we can all say the wrong thing, and in the end, when you offer up the forgiveness you really mean, it is up to the other person to accept that. If they don't, that is their choice, but you can only apologize so many times. And, I think the loyalty of love we receive from our pets can teach us a lot about the simple, forgiving, non-grudgelike love that can exist. Your cats are so beautiful!

Sugar: Thank you for being you. Thank you for being open. Thank you for helping make this world a better place, and for calling to those of us who have suffered from this fear you speak of. It is hard, and there is hope and Iove that you stop by here and give your hopeful, strong voice. I believe in that God too, and I am glad the two of you are close.

Gustav: I love the way in which you simply love others, and I think they feel the meaning of your words. You are right, I think that maybe I don't hoard the words so much as they have the highest value a set of words can have to a person, so I take them very, very seriously when I tell someone that. I used to never say it, not to anyone. I have gotten better, and now love ending my phone conversations with my family that way, it surprised them the first few times, because they knew that D'Arcy usually didn't say it, but over the past years, I've gotten better at letting those I love know it. That's important. I also think it should be what every child in the world should hear before they drift off to sleep. Well done.

Stina said...

I "love" this series of posts! :) Seriously, I feel like we're having a little web seminar every day when I log on and see a new post from you. So thought-provoking and interesting.

I also love your photography. Did you know that the library was our original intended location for our wedding and after a series of snafus it had to be changed? I am still a little mad about having to give up that locale.

How much of feeling love do you think has to be verbally expressed? In my family, we rarely ever say the words "I love you" but I know without a glimmer of a doubt that we love each other fully. It may be a cultural thing, but in Dave's family it is the same thing. You don't have to say it to know it. But I can see if you are not sure of it that hearing it or saying it can make all the difference.

I still haven't read this book, but I keep meaning to read the Love Languages. "Words of Affirmation" is one of the languages and I think it would be interesting to see to what extent people have a need to have that language fulfilled.

KingdomWriter said...

Hi there, stumbled across your post, some very good thoughts there. Made me think to recommend a book by Joyce Meyer called 'Approval Addiction', especially after reading the bit about 'creating that person to fit your needs', hope you don't mind?
Just identified with my own life, thats all, have a blessed day

Ruahines said...

Kia ora D'Arcy,
I think a lot of the expectations of "being in love", are so very different from "love". Being in love we see that person in such a different way, almost like a chemical addiction. Yet it wears off, and if there is not a substantial foundation left, it will surely crumble. Things we once thought cute now just annoying, those views once so profound now just so much bullshit. Sorry, not trying to be negative, but love is much harder work than "being in love", and maybe the rewards are greater as well.
I have had to learn how to say I love you without expecting anything in return, At one time, I might have brooded for days by not having it repeated back to me. But love is a gift we can give for free, and coming to terms with myself has freed me enough to realize that - so has becoming a father!
The first time I said I love you to a girl, I was 19. We stayed together for 8 years and are still friends.
The last time I said I love you - or aroha - was about 2 hours ago.
Kia ora D'Arcy, I will be listening to some tunes for you very soon!

skippylongjacket said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve and Jenn Fletcher said...

Dang! I feel like I ought to write a dissertation or something like everyone else. But, truthfully, this post made me sad. I get so exhausted sometimes trying to act the way I think I should so that others will love me, that I have many times wished I could just be alone--that I would be happier being alone. Most of the time I AM happier when I am alone. I like myself when I am alone. I don't feel judged. (Yes, I know I am LETTING myself be judged, maybe even interpreting others as judgmental when they are really not.) I guess that is why I enjoy my kids so much. They love me and accept me unconditionally. BUT that will change come adolescence when our relationship will grow complicated. Darn it all.

There. I wrote a mini-dissertation after all. I didn't know I had it in me.

boylingivylilac said...

Your writing draws me in. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I challenged 30 children to say three phrases to their parents and heaven a few days ago--Thank you, Please and I love you. It's important to not neglect these powerful words.

D'Arcy said...

Those are the best words in the world. Well done teacher!

D'Arcy said... the way, you really hit the core of this entry for me. It's exactly that.

Boquinha said...

D'Arcy, great posts!

Tangentially related, I suppose . . . have you seen this?

Free Hugs

Be sure to watch the video--it's pretty cool.

skippylongjacket said...

PS - My guy and I finally found the courage to tell each other we loved each other. The night we broke up.

D'Arcy said...

I think any relationship that can end with those words is not a failure. I think it was a success, something you both learned from and are better for having shared with one another.

Steph, I admire your courage and patience and faith and love.