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Love is Not a Consolation

'Love is not a consolation, it is light [Simone Weil]'. These are the words that fell at the end of my Al-Anon devotional today. When I read those words, at least the first part, images filled my brain almost instantly of how I have spent so much of my life acting as if I have had to earn someone's/everyone's love as some sort of a prize rather than being loved just to be loved, as I am--no special bling added to what makes me... me. The word consolation actually refers to psychological comfort given to someone who has suffered severe, upsetting loss (credit I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like the kind of life-giving, life-enriching love that I want to receive from the people in my life. But--nonetheless, that is the kind of love I have allowed. From whatever root that lie grew from, I have always settled for consolation love. I have had family members that I believed loved me because we were family, but they never really liked me or respected me as a person (proven again and again). I have had friends that I believed loved me until things turned wonky with one upset or another, and then they just sort of morphed into friends I used to be close to but still know. I have been involved with men who I loved, but maybe didn't have the same kind of love returned because they acted as if I was the consolation prize in their life (which, by the way, does not feel very good). I have always settled for consolation love. Even from myself.

Everyone has 'aha' moments, or those times that their heart and mind just suddenly connect. Today--I had my 'aha' moment. And that phrase, 'Love is not a consolation' was mine. I think I have been believing in my mind 'unconditional love' but accepting in my heart 'consolation love' and the two are so very different, that they never intersected. They would just bump up against each other and cause this painful friction. Today, I can finally separate the two. I am done with consolation love. If I don't feel good giving that kind of love to others, then I shouldn't feel good allowing myself to receive it. And you shouldn't either. We all (all) deserve to be loved in an authentic, honest, life-giving way. If someone, whether that be a family member, friend, acquaintance, or whoever--cannot love you for you, do not allow them to hand you some measly scraps of consolation that tells you, 'Congratulations for trying, better luck next time'. No wonder we live in a world filled with people who feel unlovable or not good enough (smh!).

So how do you go from accepting consolation love and move to only allowing unconditional love? It may not be easy but it's simple, don't allow someone to hand you less than you deserve. You--and me, we deserve unconditional love. Unconditional is a kind of love that is absolute, blooming, complete, profound, pure, simple. It is a love that has no strings, that isn't based off performance, accomplishments, what you have, or what you can give back materially. It is a kind of love that is given with the whole heart not expecting anything in return. As a parent, I made a lot of mistakes while raising my kids. I made choices that affected our lives in very painful ways, but I also made the choice to try harder after each blunder. It is true that when you know better, you do better. Regardless of whatever ups and downs we went through, my main purpose as a parent was to teach my kids how to love others without conditions. It was the kind of love I craved and I didn't want them to settle for less (less being consolation love). And somehow, I did that part right. Today one of the things my kiddos will share, especially now that they are adults, is that I loved them unconditionally. That is the single greatest compliment I will ever receive in my life. Starting today, I am not going to accept consolation love (and neither should you!). If someone can't love you for you-- in your greatest hour to your darkest night, then just let them be. You shouldn't have to earn anyone's love. If someone makes you feel like you are hard to love, then just let them be. If someone hands you manufactured love, then just let them be. If someone disapproves of you for whatever reason, just let them be. Not everyone in your life is meant to take up residence. Today I just needed a reminder of that. I am worthy of being loved unconditionally, and frankly, I am worn out on jumping through hoops just to gain a footing in someone's life. That is no way to live. The truth is, by just letting someone be, you are extending unconditional love. And you are making room in your life for those who can love you the way you deserve to be loved.

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