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Minimizing love?

Marc and I have had many hours of conversation about minimalizing relationships. And we understand that some people find the idea of relationship pruning to be a little harsh, but for us it’s a matter of self-defense. Because we’re suckers. We find gratification in helping people. We want to be of service. We enjoy being of use. We like to give. Therefore, naturally, we attract takers. Users. People who are only too willing to be given to, served, and helped (and helped and helped) without the burden of reciprocation. Over time we have gradually minimized those relationships out of our lives and we’re better off for it.

Minimizing that kind of interaction makes sense. But (I believe) a minimalist pursuit has a lot to do with finding balance. So, what about the other end of the spectrum? Being surrounded by takers and users can be exhausting, but can an overabundance of love also be a burden? If so, then Marc’s in trouble.

See, I love actively. Energetically. Tenaciously. Some would even say ferociously. There’s really not a word in our language that can adequately describe the flow, the current, the intensity of love that pours out of me. Sometimes it brims, sometimes it gushes, but there’s always an overflow because the amount of love I have for my husband, my family, my friends… well, it’s immense. Immeasurable. And I’ve often wondered (worried) what it might be like to be on the receiving end of Lisa love.

Being in a toxic relationship where you give, give, give–with little return–isn’t good for you. But if balance is something we seek, then isn’t too much of a good thing just as bad? I wonder if the people I love would all be better off if I mellowed me a bit. Should I look into minimizing love?

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • BarbaraUHC November 26, 2012, 12:42 pm

    Greetings, Lisa. You are SO right. Maybe it’s our own fault that people start feeling “entitled” to our love. Why not? We are always so loving to them. We are always there for them. We might even get used to their inability_or disinterest_in responding to us with mutual appreciation and love. I’ve had that problem all my life. I think I was conditioned as a child to be this way, so, as I grew up, I continued to not expect appreciation or love. I have gotten myself into some very abusive situations by continuing to think that I should always be the one who shows consideration, concern, and love. This surely destroys your self-respect_and your “self”, when you are a child. It teaches you that you are unimportant_that your feelings are unimportant. It’s “invalidation” and it’s very destructive. It will poison your entire life, if you don’t look into your self and see the pain for what it is. To keep giving, sometimes, is our futile way of making sure we are valid. We have to keep giving_trying to earn love. It’s so much easier when we realize that others have to earn our love and respect, also. Not to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I was raised Christian, and I was taught to “love my enemies”, “do unto others as I would have others do unto me”, etc. It took me most of my life to figure out that this was only half the truth. The Jews_who see it in a different way_say that one should “NOT do unto others what one would find hateful if done unto oneself”. That, at least, gives one the choice to be neutral/do nothing to harm anyone, BUT, in a way, not keep giving love, consideration, or concern when those things are not returned_out of respect and care for you. Of course, others have the right to just be neutral, too, but to never do harm. Well, I take refuse in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. The layman’s rules are very “enlightening”, Lisa. Even if you don’t like religion, organized religion, or rules, there is a wealth of knowledge and life help in Buddhism. It sounds like you are very loving, considerate, and and compassionate, Lisa. Just remember, if you give it all away, you won’t have any left for yourself. It sounds like this has happened to you. I did the same thing and still lapse into the habit at times. Stop denying yourself, what you give “freely” to others. Have a wonderful day_full of new adventures. Metta, Barbara

  • BarbaraUHC November 26, 2012, 12:48 pm

    I sincerely hope the “moderator” corrects my spelling_take “refu(g)e” in the Buddha. Also, the double “and” before compassionate, please.

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