" I love you" - three words that always change everything. Why?
Love is the thing that we all want. We are taught to pursue it and even if we haven't been, when it hits we might abandon everything to keep it. Why is love so important and what is love?
We mostly learn that love is a feeling. Love is the warm and fuzzies, it makes you feel whole, it bonds you to your partner and it makes you dream. I have been "in love" and I don't believe that is what love is at all.
Personally, when I say, "I love you" what I mean is I believe in you. I know you are human and I am agreeing to partner with you in your humanity. I am essentially saying, I commit to you with limitations. I love my friends, my child, my partner, my family BUT love is not a standalone institution. I have learned that last part also. Love is a partnership; a two way street. I can love you from afar, true, but when we love each other, we must demonstrate that.
Demonstration of love is not on one person's terms. It is a mutual understanding. If you know me, you will know what hurts me and you will know what is important. I want people in my life who care enough to honor those boundaries, not just to say I love you without the follow-through. When behavior changes, love is renegotiated. The renegotiation is not the crime but changing without notice is. What does that mean? To me that means every relationship is built on an agreement. For instance, I need a friend: Friendship to me might be a listening ear, a confidant or financial help. If you and I have an understanding of what I am to give you to and vise versa, changing those terms is changing our love. You can't change the terms of love and expect the other party not to react. Love is an action word. Act in love, receive love. Change the terms of love and you often have the end of "love".
Communication is so important. In my relationships I want to hear you every-time you speak. I want to say I love you by my actions toward your heart and your needs. I expect the same in return. If we need to adjust we must communicate with each other about the adjustments. If not, there is room for betrayal, pain and misunderstandings. Is it hard to find good communicators? 1000%! Will I settle for intimate partners who are not able to do it? Not at all.
My intimate space is golden; I am precious. I let in those who bring light and loyalty. I give that in return. I am in love with some people that have seen me through the hardest times in my life even from afar. Those people will always have my loyalty. However, I will also protect my own light with the fierceness of a lioness. If our terms change so must our roles. There are some people I must grieve the loss of even while they still breathe. However, losing myself for love is not an option. I have done that so many times and looked at my own hands empty.
For me, I love you means we love each other. I believe in mutuality even though I know sometimes one of us must give more than the other. As long as we agree I am with you. I pride myself in being there for the laughs, the tears, the heartbreaks, the joys. I have some friendships that span 30 years or just those people who would go with me until the end. You know I love you. I know you love me. Thank you so much for your love and for always, even when our agreements have changed, loving me still.