WITHHOLDING LOVE IS NEVER THE ANSWER

Today my mother said these words to me: “withholding love is never the answer. Why would someone want to withhold love?”

It is a good question, isn’t it? Why WOULD someone want to withhold love? It is often used as a form of punishment. If someone does something you don’t agree with or something that is hurtful, you stop loving them or stop displaying your love for them temporarily. You punish them to teach a lesson. The lesson carries a message and the message is: if you do (blank) I won’t love you anymore.

Why is that a lesson we would want to teach someone we claim to love? In a recent statement made by the Dalai Lama, he said: “All major world religious traditions carry the same message: the message of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment”. If that is true, which I believe it to be, then withholding love should never be an option. It isn’t our job to teach each others a lesson by refusing them our love. Our only job is to generously give all the love we have to give, even when it feels impossible.

I am trying to teach myself to love unconditionally. As of yet, I’m not very good at it. I’ve come across some inspiring quotes in my quest to learn how to love unconditionally, I have included them below.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.- Wayne Dyer

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you. -Luke 6: 27-31

I’ve learned that love, not time, heals all wounds. -Andy Rooney

TRAITS I INHERITED FROM MY MOTHER

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all inevitably inherit various traits from our parents. Sometimes these traits are good, sometimes they are bad, sometimes they are embarrassing and we really wish we could push them back into our DNA helix things and save them for the next generation.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become increasingly aware of just how similar my mom and I are. Though there are far too many common traits to list, here are a few that I’ve noticed most recently:

We get a bit obsessive. Who me? I’m not obsessed with Wooden Swedish Clogs. Yes, I did purchase my third pair in the span of two weeks but they are a necessity for my life.

There’s no one I could have gotten this obsessive quality from but my mom. Have you seen the Birkenstock picture?

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This isn’t even all of her Birkenstocks.

She becomes obsessed with things. This isn’t necessarily a problem, except that the obsession doesn’t generally last very long (the Birkenstocks seem to be an exception to the rule). My mother will decide that she is going to change her ‘look’ and only wear jeans and oversized button down shirts. Naturally, she will then buy ten over priced button down shirts and ten pairs of jeans. A week later she will decide this was a silly idea and go back to her bedouin clothes, which she will almost certainly need more of now that she’s a committed bedouin.

The obsessive quality is not necessarily a negative trait I suppose, we just approach life with gusto!

We need personal space. I almost never had a successful sleepover as a kid. I would beg my mom to let me stay over at a friend’s house and she would trepidatiously allow me to, asking “are you SURE you will stay for the full night this time?” I always assured her I would and then around bed time, she would get a call from my friend’s parents saying that I needed to be picked up because I wanted to go home. I’ve never particularly enjoyed sleepovers and I’ve found this isn’t necessarily a widespread feeling. Two years ago a group of friends and I went away for the weekend. I was shocked when two of the girls requested to stay not only in the same room but in the same bed. Luckily, this meant I got a single room to myself.

My mom is the same way if not exponentially worse. It is rare/unheard of that she will stay over at someone’s house. She will never go on a group vacation (or any vacation at all really) and she probably won’t stay at your country house unless you have a private wing or a guest house she can have all to herself. And she’s not even an only child!

We don’t particularly enjoy using connections. We won’t ask for tickets to your show or to meet your famous friend. We won’t ask you to pull some strings to get us into the hippest joint in town. We certainly will never stop a celebrity and ask for a picture. We will never really be big networkers. We (mostly) take what we get and try not to ask for much more. Can’t the rest of the world be that way too? It’s just uncomfortable, capiche?

Geography and history don’t come easy. My mom once asked if we would have to go through Ohio to get to Maine. When playing twenty questions with my boyfriend, I told him the noun I had in mind (Washington D.C.) was in fact located in the mid-West. We aren’t unintelligent people, our strengths just seem to lie in other areas. History isn’t one of those areas either, see below.