When calculating the cost of genuine love, one will find that it is accompanied by benefits, burdens, obligations, and responsibilities. This is true for all love, whether it is romantic, filial, extended family, or friends. Genuine love is not without a cost. The price involves making sure the we honor and nurture the love that we receive.
Nature Teaches Love by Example
If we look around in nature, we can find many examples of genuine love. Whales, birds, foxes, wolves, otters, seahorses, coyotes, owls, eagles, geese, penguins, monkeys, hawks, and many others, choose mates for life. Our devoted pets demonstrate excellent examples of genuine love. Our animal friends are excellent teachers. They suffer in silence, they perfect patience, and they pass no judgments.
A Broken Family Is a Broken Model
People often part ways because they do not know how to love others genuinely. They are not entirely to blame, however; a broken family is a broken model. This sets them up for failure down the road because they do not have the proper skills for any relationship. For example, many people do not seem to realize that it is okay to disagree and argue at times. It should not be an all-out war. They do not realize the importance of allowing others to be themselves, even if it means they are different. A person should receive love in spite of his or her idiosyncrasies or differing standpoints. What often happens is that the righteous person yells from his or her soapbox. Then he or she steps down, picks up the box, and beats the life out of the opponent.
Practicing Love Through Behavior
There are many ways in which we can cultivate a caring manner. We can listen more, be mindful of our words, be more generous toward others, empathize with them, and more. We also can be more considerate when posting information on social media. In many ways, society has not greatly benefitted from social media. It gives a false impression of closeness and unity. In actuality, it divides people by using sophisticated algorithms that target vulnerable elements of a person’s psyche. It also has turned many into self-righteous, self-absorbed, vane and judgmental humans with an almost complete lack of compassion.
Being Compassionate & Available
When we genuinely love others, we are devoted to who they are spiritually. This means having compassion and reaching out to help them if they need anything. Life has continuous uncertainties and an ability to turn a person’s life upside down in a single moment. We are sailing on life’s high seas in dangerous conditions, hoping to reach out for life rafts. Those life rafts are the people in our lives who care for us. We need people on whom we can rely and they need our reliability just as desperately.
Everyone pays for love, whether it is a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, or a lover. There is abundant risk in loving someone in any capacity. People eventually will be separated for ridiculous, benign reasons or through some form of great tragedy. One way that we can minimize the pain we bring to others is by being dependable. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard and keep our promises, as we are nothing if we are not as good as our word. It can be costly to be otherwise.
Holding Ourselves Accountable
Imagine that someone you love asks you to let him or her know when you arrive home so that there will be certainty that you are safe. You agree, but perhaps you get home and your phone battery is dead, you forget, you are too tired, or there is another reason. This person may try to reach you and stay up all night worried. He or she may even travel to find you, even in inclement weather. In today’s world, the lack of dependability is so common that we are never sure when it is appropriate to act.
Perhaps you did not arrive home safely and you are in need of help. If you left in anger or you are known for seldom keeping your word, your silence won’t cause concern. The person likely will assume that you need to cool down or that you forgot. He or she may still worry about you anyway. Is he or she going to call your boss, call your neighbors, or send out a search party? Not if you consistently fall back on your word. It is important to be as good as your word, no matter what you have to do to make it happen. You could find yourself in a situation where you genuinely are in need of help. It could save your life. It also is not fair to the other person to make him or her worry, but that also is the cost of genuine love.
Genuine Love Makes Us Vulnerable
We put ourselves out there anytime we give or receive love. It is the nature of our existence. It will bring joy and pain. Even so, we must strive to be our very best in order to give of ourselves in our purest form, and to receive the greatest gift life has to offer: Genuine love.
Let us strive to be the very best version of ourselves.
Danica De La Mora