If you were a child of the ’60s then surely you’ve (and loved) the famous Billy Joel song ‘I love you just the way you are’. And that’s the kind of love I always thought I should look for and offer. It was only recently, through some very hard times, that I realized something different. I have come to appreciate the love that looks past the excuse, “This is me. Love me for who I am.”
Aha. I’ve got your attention haven’t I? Yes, what I’m about to say seems the opposite of our culture of love that tells us we must accept everyone just the way they are.
Love Me For Who I Am Is Crap!
Over the past few years, José had been challenging me about certain changes and decisions I needed to make to be happier and more at peace. I kept resisting, offering all kinds of excuses, telling him he didn’t understand me and finally giving him that wonderful line, “This is who I am. You should be used to it by now.”
To his credit, while not labouring the point, every time I faced an issue because of my inaction and indecisiveness, he presented me with the solution again. He would then reissue the challenge for me to act. It was his constant voice in my ear that finally made me take the drastic measures I did. I can’t tell you how much freedom flowed out of my choice. I wondered why I hadn’t acted sooner. I had no excuses.
By constantly showing me another way of behaving, another set of choices, José challenged me to grow. Isn’t that love?
None of us should be content being exactly as we are, without growth in our life. We must want the people who love us to challenge us to grow.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”If love is not challenging the other to grow, then it is merely tolerance and disinterest. ” quote=”If love is not challenging the other to grow, then it is merely tolerance and disinterest. “]
It is important then, that we seek the kind of love that challenges us. We must not want others to ‘love’ all the wonky parts of us that we have the power to change and fix. We must be willing to learn from our significant others (spouses, partners, soulmates, friends).
And as people who love, we must be willing to be gentle ‘teachers’ who challenge our significant others to grow.
With Mother’s Day just over, it would be nice to think of the love of a good mother. Is she satisfied with her child being ‘just the way s/he is’? If she did, imagine the chaos with all of us crawling around (maybe still wearing diapers?) and being babies!
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Genuine love must certainly be the kind that gently, yet firmly, challenges us to become the best version of ourselves.” quote=”Genuine love must certainly be the kind that gently, yet firmly, challenges us to become the best version of ourselves.”]
Would love to have your thoughts on this.
PS: Please note I am not talking about anyone with any form of mental illness or depression.
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