Tag Archives: love

Let’s play a new game

johnlegend-allofme

“Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections”

I have to say I’m a fan of John Legend’s All of Me.

I’m a closet romantic.  I don’t plan lavish weekends away, don’t cook candlelight dinners, the best my wife gets is me begrudgingly watching a chick flick with her.  At least that’s the way I see it.

“My head’s under water
But I’m breathing fine
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind”

She tells people I’m getting better, which I guess is a compliment.  After 20+ years of marriage, I would hope I’ve made some progress.  But that’s not to say it was easy.

“Cards on the table, we’re both showing hearts
Risking it all, though it’s hard”

Whenever two people decide to engage in a relationships, it can take one of two paths.  Either the people are focused on what they can get or what they can give.  Their choices will impact not only the strength, but the duration of the relationship.

“What would I do without your smart mouth?
Drawing me in, and you kicking me out
You’ve got my head spinning, no kidding, I can’t pin you down”

If both are focused primarily on what they can get, the relationship is doomed.  It’s like finding out your partner is a vampire, and not the Edward kind.  One of you will die (emotionally, at least); the only question is who & when.

If one of you is focused on giving, and the other is focused on getting, this relationship is also doomed, but will last longer & be more painful for the giver.  This is because the giver will try to win the taker over with their gifts (cleaning up, giving in, taking abuse) in order to sustain the relationship.  This will feed the insatiable appetite of the taker, because they will have a willing pawn.  The taker will use guilt, manipulation, and many other tricks to keep a good thing going (for them at least).

“Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you”

But there is a better way.  You can almost make it into a game.  The rules are simple.

1)  Out-give your mate.  Do things for the other person that you know they will appreciate.

2)  Active participation is a requirement.  Being passive means you lose.

“You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you”

If I’ve learned anything in watching relationships, mine as well as those around me, it when two givers are in a relationship, it’s a beautiful thing.  You can see something in the way they talk, the way they interact, a joy and happiness that is not forced.  They genuinely enjoy being together, doing together, living life together.

And the rest of us stare in awe, because that is what we want so desperately.  Some of us are on the path, getting better at giving.  Others walk away in despair, because they fear that their relationship will never get on the right track.

The good news is we are all capable of change.  Some takers are simply former givers who were hurt by another taker.  Others just never saw a good example of a giving relationship.

Givers have a source of love that is independent of the relationship, which fuels their love & giving.  Through family, friends, and a connection with Love itself, they have continuous supply of love flowing through their lives.

So what about you?  Are you a giver or a taker?  What is your partner? 

If your relationship is not one of mutual giving, are you willing to have the conversations necessary to begin a change?

What is the greatest love of all?

IMG_0215.JPG

IMG_0216.JPG

I recently hosted a pool party for some friends.  It may seem a bit strange, considering my introvert tendencies, but I also like settings where lots of people are enjoying themselves. 

Laughter is infectious, and I have a great time when I’m with people who are just having fun.  We had no agenda, other than to spend time together having fun.

Most of us played in the pool, like little kids.  This was fun, just for the fact that our group spanned from teens to grandparents, with college students and newlyweds sprinkled in.

I found a pool table, and started playing with one of my friends.  A pair of grad students from India asked if they could join, and we played teams with them.  One of the students had only been in America for 4 days.  We hope to connect with them soon and show them around town.

The after-party moved to our apartment.  Though not huge, we squeezed about 15 people in there.  We played games and eventually fired up the karaoke machine.

Then it happened.  Someone picked “The Greatest Love of all” by Whitney Houston, and wanted me to sing a duet with them.  I obliged, but inwardly I felt conflicted.

Whitney died tragically of a drug overdose, so the love of self didn’t seem to help her in the end.  Then I started to think about Robin Williams, who recently committed suicide after losing the battle to depression.  He was an amazing actor, making people laugh all over the globe, yet his love of others was insufficient to keep on living.

We hear conflicting views on what the secret of ultimate fulfillment are.  Some say love yourself above all else.  But we see examples in Hollywood and everyday life of people who become bitter and angry, because their self love has no patience for those who don’t worship them or meet their every fleeting desires.

Others will say love others, and stop being so selfish.  But outward love unchecked can lead to despair and burnout, as the needs are greater than any one individual’s capacity to help.  These become bitter because they feel others should be sacrificing as much as they are, and anyone who doesn’t is self absorbed.

So what is the right response?  Is self love the right response, or is loving others?  Is there a balance between the two, or is something else needed?