It Ain’t About You

26 02 2010
Last week we talked about loving ourselves, this week we talk about loving others.  Of course above all you must love yourself first to effectively love someone else. Why? Because when you love someone else It Ain’t About You!   Let’s look at it this way; we start with loving ourselves so that we can understand our own feelings, emotions and all those things that are produced from within that then translates into love.  As a matter of fact, when you think of love, what symbol comes to mind?  A heart right?  So let’s look at love from the perspective of a heart, as it is the love which is produced in our heart that springs forth. So we must learn to understand our own heart before we can even give the gift of love to someone else.  How can you give something to someone you don’t have for yourself?
OK think about it this way what doe a hear do? The heart is the hub that gives you life as it pumps blood through the body.  So your heart GIVES to your body but what does it get in return?  It ain’t about the heart but the heart must be functioning well in order to GIVE life. 
 “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.” – Proverbs 14:30
 Interesting right?  So it is this same concept of GIVING that we do when we love someone.  As social psychologist, Eric Fromm has said, “true giving, is other-oriented, and requires four elements. The first is care, demonstrating active concern for the recipient’s life and growth. The second is responsibility, responding to his or her expressed and unexpressed needs (particularly, in an adult relationship, emotional needs). The third is respect, “the ability to see a person as he [or she] is, to be aware of his [or her] unique individuality,” and, consequently, wanting that person to “grow and unfold as he [or she] is. These three components all depend upon the fourth, knowledge. You can care for, respond to, and respect another only as deeply as you know him or her “.  That pretty much sums up giving but also explains what you do when you love someone. Pretty much the art of giving is not about the person that is giving but really focuses on care, responding to, respecting and truly knowing the other person that you love.   Let me see if I can explain further.
 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.”  John 3:16
God loved us so much that He GAVE His son for us.  This is an example of unselfish love where you do what you do for the one you love because you care enough to see them do better.  Can you imagine giving up your child so that someone else could have life? Now if that is not selfless love, I don’t know what is!!!  This selfless love, ya know the kind that ain’t about you, seeks  nothing in return but you do what you do because you love this person so much and give to meet their need not your own.   
Going back to our first point to connect this whole concept of it ain’t about you; of course it is important to love yourself first so that when you decide to love someone else, it is someone who deserves your love. After all some may take advantage of a selfless act, it is when your heart  is fully developed and in love with you that you can decipher between someone who is trying to take advantage of you or someone that does not equally love themselves.  Or even be able to detect someone that is so hurt that they just might hurt you on an accident. It is only when your love is fully developed for you, that you can cut right through all the smoke and mirrors to the heart of the matter and see someone for who they are.  Genuine or imitation.  To do this you must know yourself first so that you can see deep into the heart of another and when you see that their love is not based on condition or for selfish reasons, you can be free to give and give in the following manner…
  “Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged” I Corinthians 13: 4b & 5

I would sum it up to say that love is humble.  According to the Webster Dictionary, humble means not proud or haughty, not arrogant or assertiveTo be humble is reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission.  Taking that from the Webster dictionary, I would put it this way, deferring to another’s needs and doing for them because you see their need is greater than your own. With that said, that is exactly how I would explain the act of God giving His son so that we may have life.  It is the mother who works two jobs so that her son can go to the best school.  The husband who drives two hours to work everyday in order to make the extra money in his desire  to make a better life for his children.  It is the teacher that stays after class to tutor an academically challenged child. You see it in the face of mentors and mothers, in husbands and wives, in siblings and sista friends that look beyond self and see your need.  Love is expressed when we see another in need and we do whatever we need to do to help meet that need.  Keeping in mind that love does not brag about what was done.  You don’t hear love calling you reminding you of what you just did for them because if you did it out of love, you are not expecting anything in return.  A act done out of love does not keep a list of things I did for you so I can remind you, while at the same time keeping a list of all the bad you have done to me.  What I am trying to say is love is not by condition.  It is something you give unconditionally.   So yes loving others definitely Ain’t About You! 


 “Love grows by giving.  The love we give away is the only love we keep.  The only way to retain love is to give it away.” – Elbert Hubbard 

 “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
 “Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.” – Kahlil Gibran



One response

26 02 2010

I love this one, it is so true and practical. I want to share something else I found and gave it as a gift to my older sister who recently got married. It is from a muslim context but all in the same I think the message is similar. Thank you.

Marital love~
Faith: The love Muslim spouses have for each other is for the sake of Allah that is to gain His pleasure. It is from Allah that we claim our mutual rights (Quran 4:1) and it is to Allah that we are accountable for our behavior as husband and wife.
It sustains: Love is not to consume but to sustain. Allah expresses His love for us by providing sustenance. To love in Islam is to sustain our loved one physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, to the best of our ability.
Accepts: To love someone is to accept them for who they are. It is selfishness to try and mould someone as we wish them to be. True love does not attempt to crush individuality or control personal differences, but is magnanimous and secure to accommodate differences.
Challenges: Love challenges us to be all we can; it encourages us to tap into our talents and takes pride in our achievements. To enable our loved one to realize their potential is the most rewarding experience.
Merciful: Mercy compels us to love and love compels us to have mercy. In the Islamic context the two are synonymous. The attribute Allah chose to be the supreme for Himself is that He is the most Merciful. This attribute of Rahman (the Merciful) is mentioned 170 times in the Quran, bringing home the significance for believers to be merciful. Mercy in practical application means to have and show compassion and to be charitable.
Forgiving: Love is never too proud to seek forgiveness or too stingy to forgive. It is willing to let go of hurt and letdowns. Forgiveness allows us the opportunity to improve and correct our selves.
Respect: To love is to respect and value the person their contributions and their opinions. Respect does not allow us to take for granted our loved ones or to ignore their input. How we interact with our spouses reflects whether we respect them or not.
Confidentiality: Trust is the most essential ingredient of love. When trust is betrayed and confidentiality compromised, love loses its soul.
Caring: Love fosters a deep fondness that dictates caring and sharing in all that we do. The needs of our loved ones take precedence over our own.
Kindness: The Seerah (biography) of our beloved Prophet is rich with examples of acts of kindness, he showed towards his family and particularly his wives. Even when his patience was tried, he was never unkind in word or deed. To love is to be kind.
Grows: Marital love is not static it grows and flourishes with each day of marital life. It requires work and commitment, and is nourished through faith when we are thankful and appreciative of Allah blessings.
Enhances: Love enhances our image and beautifies our world. It provides emotional security and physical well being.
Selflessness: Love gives unconditionally and protects dutifully.
Truthful: Love is honesty without cruelty and loyalty without compromise.

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