There are a million love songs. From Donna Summers I Feel Love to The Lion King’s Can you Feel the Love Tonight they all remind us that when love is present, it is palpable. So I’m willing to agree that love is a feeling, the problem is, love felt, but not expressed, is not enough. I wrote on Day One that we need to figure out how we want to be loved. If your partner loves you madly, but treats you badly, is that really love? This is where the fourthPrinciple of Loving comes in: Love is Good Will in Action. If you want to love someone more, do nice things for them, keeping in mind what they would like to receive from you. If you want some one to love you more, allow them to do nice things for you.
A little counter intuitive, no?
The kindest thing you can do for another is let them know how they can please you, and then be pleased by their good will in action. Jerry Jud talks about another facet of good will in action, which is that, to truly love, we have to come to grips with the fact that we are all good, and bad, dark and light. He said, “I have to own my own darkness in order to live with your darkness. But I also have to own my own light in order to live with your brilliant light.. . . If you are going to love somebody, you have to love the whole thing.”
Victor Baranco said it another way, “Love is the willingness to see yourself through all of another persons viewpoints.” And here’s the love myth. That someone out there is the perfect person for us, in every way. Their bumps will fit our grooves, and we will live happily, lovingly ever after. We believe that true love sees us as we wish to see ourselves. Anyone who’s been in a relationship knows this isn’t true. Our “soul mates” stick their thumbs in every sore spot we have. We are attracted to the people who have the things we lack, and then resent them for it. They mirror back our shadows, and also call us to live into our highest selves.This can be very uncomfortable!
The next time you find yourself not liking someone very much, you can re-connect to your love for them by remembering that love is good will in action. More on what that might look like when we get the skills of loving.
What are your thoughts? Do these principles inform your relationships?
Tomorrow: The last principle, Love is a response to need.
** From the pamphlet, Love is an Intention: An interview with Jerry Jud about the principles and skills of loving, written by Jim Hession