1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres.
True love feels whole and it lacks nothing. It is kind, patient, not easily angered, and doesn’t give up. It is conditional. This means that the love given is not based on what you do or don’t do. The love given is based on who you are. It doesn’t care if your physical appearance is pretty every second of the day. It doesn’t fault you for your shortcomings, but instead, it looks at your flaws as a unique part of you. True love isn’t toxic and does not hold your past against you. It doesn’t look at where you came from and use it as an excuse to argue or tear you down. I have listened to so many stories from couples and unfortunately, these are some examples I hear when it comes to someone that said they “loved them”.
How do we fix this broken system of toxic love? How do we demand that we only give the same love to others that we give to ourselves? That is the key. We have to first understand love in its purest form for ourselves. It is so much easier to accept less than we deserve when we ourselves don’t know what we deserve. Maybe no one taught us what love was growing up. We had to bear witness to emotional and sometimes physical abuse from our parents as children. We heard stories of people who were in love but they cheated on each other. We see people post their significant others but behind closed doors, they do things that aren’t respectful to their partners. We were never taught the type of love that God created for us to have so we accept fake love. Fake love is easier to deal with. Sometimes, we are alluded to believe that it “feels” better to accept what we know isn’t right. This is because fear stops us from demanding more.
There is a dark cloud of fear floating around when it comes to love. Deep down we all want that all-consuming love. We want someone to look at us and know that we are enough. We want them to help us heal our broken parts or at least be there when the ugliness arises. We want someone in our corner that we know we can trust. The feeling that no matter where they are, they always have our best interests at heart. And they would never do anything to jeopardize that.
The true issue is that we haven’t fully grasped the concept of loving ourselves. We love ourselves to an extent and then we want others to make up for the self-love we lack; continuing a system of broken love. We have to start loving “self” the same way we expect others to love us.
Demanding real love first means knowing what you want. No surface stuff. No wants based on brokenness and pain. But what we really want. The wants we never really say outside of our heads because it seems too good to be true. We stay in situations knowing that we shouldn’t feel the way we feel. Our hearts suffer tears that are hard to recover from. Yet, we do the same thing over and over. We “allow” another person to determine how we should be loved.
Their love could be painful, disrespectful, abusive, and inconsistent but we still accept it. One of the reasons is because we blame ourselves for our own shortcomings instead of loving every piece of our beings. There will always be something to work on. No one will ever be perfect. But we have to stop accepting less just because we can’t see ourselves the way God sees us.
The minute something doesn’t feel right, demand that a change be made. When someone truly loves you they won’t wait to take action. It will happen immediately. They won’t make excuses or blame you for what you did or didn’t do. They will be happy to fix the issue because they will value who you are at your core. When someone truly loves you, they will love you at your core.
Be selfish with your love and be particular. Have standards and don’t accept anything you know isn’t right. When it is right you will fill the difference. And that difference won’t be based on fear or manipulation. It will feel pure. It will feel unconditional. It will feel Godly.