Love is not something you feel, it’s something you do.
That overwhelming feeling when your heart fills up as you look at a loved one, be it a spouse or child, is admiration, not love.
That feeling when you want to jump someone (won’t go into more detail but if you know, you know) is called lust, not love.
That feeling when you are calm and peaceful in your relationship with someone is called tranquility, not love.
Love, however, is a series of actions. It is the decision to choose someone over and over, day in and day out.
Love is making them a cup of tea without them asking for it, or telling them it’s okay to feel sad. It’s listening to them vent about their day, and knowing when to validate their feelings and when to offer advice.
Love is treating the other person with dignity and respect, even when you disagree. It’s holding their hand and giving lots of hugs. It’s sharing laughs. It’s forgiving each other for mistakes.
Love isn’t controlling someone. It isn’t demanding obedience and submission as a prerequisite to the feeling, like “if you love me, you’ll do what I say”.
I admit I don’t always act loving. Take yesterday as an example. I turned into the Hulk while showering my son (he was too tired to shower himself and I was busy and tired and when I decided id shower him, he threw a tantrum and wanted to shower himself but he was getting cold and I needed to shower him quickly before he got sick and he kept screaming and pushing me away and I snapped at him and I kept getting angrier. It was horrible and just remembering what happened makes me cringe).
I tend to get controlling with my son. I am impatient and impulsive at times, but I always apologize. I’m getting better at realizing he isn’t disobeying me just to make me angry, but I still have a lot of work to do.
This was going to be a whole other post if my husband hadn’t hugged me yesterday (his form of an apology). We all have triggers and we all come with emotional baggage from our childhood, past relationships, and experiences. It’s hard not to let your past dictate your future, but that is what the present is for.
The actions you do now predict your future. Like right now, my son is trying to get my attention, and how I respond to that will predict my relationship with him. The tricky thing about parenting is you have to join connection with discipline. Too much discipline and not enough connection make the child resentful. Too much connection but not enough discipline makes the child chaotic. You need a perfect balance of loving attention and peaceful discipline to have a good relationship with a child who listens to you, most of the time.