Giving And Receiving

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”    Mother Teresa

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”    Steve Maraboli

“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.”     Brian Tracy

“I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.”     Mother Teresa

I don’t know about others but I can tell you how many times I have weighed in my mind, what pain or hurt others caused me. It seems silly and absurd and definitely not a worthy thing to do. So I question why I am guilty of doing it frequently. If I loved unconditionally, I would not have this problem at all. I recall how much I love my kids and profess to love them unconditionally. I do love them unconditionally but when it comes to others, I fail miserably. When I get myself composed, I fill my heart with love again until the next trying situationThe reasons are likely numerous and perhaps surprising in nature. I suppose it gets tangled up in love. Everyone is searching for love. It is the easiest thing to find, but the hardest thing to keep and maintain. It probably has to do more with attitudes about what love is and isn’t.

When we first get married, we glow in the presence of our spouse. Our love is pure, deep and feels good. The world is at our feet, and we honestly believe that our love for each other is unlike any other love, that ever was. Like a fresh bouquet of roses, it shimmers in the light of the sun. As any divorced couple might say, they don’t know when things were going south, and by the time they noticed, it was too late.

I think if we are not sure how, why or when our feelings turned sour, perhaps we were not paying enough attention to our love life and our marriage. If we observe the important elements of our lives with caution, and keep attuned to the small inconsequential acts, we will be aware of problems coming our way a lot faster. What this has to do with unconditional love,  is the fact that almost every couple believes in it at the time of their marriage, yet can lose the feeling a short time down the road. The goal becomes how to keep love alive and healthy.

Friendships run the same course. We cherish our friends but there are moments when they let us down, insult us, make us jealous and envious, or simply make us feel bored. In reality we were just as guilty of the failed relationship, but it is harder to see our own fault. How much easier it is to judge another over ourselves. It is human nature. I don’t think it is boastful but perhaps the opposite. We are so lacking in our own worth that we fear facing our own faults. We place  a small amount of blame on ourselves, and the large bundle of guilt on our spouse.

Getting back to the love issue is vital. So many of our relationships with spouses, kids, family, friends coworkers, and parents may end in estrangement. There is likely no one walking around the earth, who has not experienced an estrangement of one kind or another. Now if we are courageous enough, we will admit that not so long ago we would have professed the impossibility of such an occurrence happening. So how did it happen?

How is it we alter our thinking, change our minds and attitudes, and search for and find blame rather than love. If we can remember at one time we saw love within a relationship of whatever kind, maybe we can ignite it again.  Now we look at these people we once cherished, with disdain. They are not worthy of our bonds of love. Is it that they just don’t measure up anymore? Did they let us down or hurt us in some way? Do they appear to have changed? Have we changed? Does it have more to do with our egos, jealousies, or competition, rather than our loss of love?

There are perhaps more questions than answers. Of course the end result is confusion, few answers, and lots of pain and suffering in one form or another. We probably don’t stop to think of the effect on so many others. We always assume it is just about us.  Changes affect everyone around us. What we do has a domino effect and it continues on and on. Spouses who divorce are likely going to have an effect on a child’s future mate who will be forced to deal with the complicating issues of visits, talks about estranged family members and more. Who would think a total stranger would feel the impact of such a course we have taken. None of us ever think about the impact we cause on others daily, as well as far into the future.

Most parents never lose love for their kids and vice versus, but they may become disillusioned. Maybe all of us give so much time to making a living, that we forget about making a  life. All relationships may start out as unconditional love, but end up shattered when people begin experiencing feelings of neglect. Distrust leads to doubt, fear and eventual loss of love. As much as we try, we can become discouraged. We lose faith in ourselves but also in our relationships.

Of course an answer is to work harder on all relationships. Next to that I would say it might be time to reevaluate the pros and cons of any relationship, and our expectations. Are our expectations so unrealistic that a partner or loved one can’t help but step over the impossible line? we then consider them failing. If we set our own parameters, but forget to inform our loved one what they are, then we have set the grounds for them to be unsuccessful. Perhaps we must question how much we have planned to make this relationship flourish or flop. Is the relationship about about tolerance growth and love or is it about Us?

Our expectations may be unreasonable. We are all aware that the little things count the most. Are we also aware that counting will always create disappointment? Paying more attention to the kindnesses rather than the deficiencies may ultimately support a positive effect. There are those times when we all make mistakes,  overlook sensitivities, and generally lack concern. If we choose to bring attention to these errors constantly,  we will eventually erode any relationship. By monitoring only the absence we are focusing on finding the mistakes in another. An alternative approach is to focus on the good, acknowledge it and most definitely remember it.

We are likely boxed in at times, going round and round. Because we are caught within this box, we are not seeing elsewhere for another view. Choose to look for a positive version of this person or relationship. The alternative is exhaustion, running around in circles, and in the end, breaking and running away from the relationship. Our minds of course support our thoughts. They are also traveling around but going no where. The constant reminder of blame, makes it always present, and continually draining. Unless we have the courage to step out and take a different approach, we will destroy what was once a good relationship.

Many times our thoughts sabotage our love. If we can’t control our thoughts, we become the slaves to them as well as the victims. We have technically lost control of our choices and decisions. In order to take back control, we have to seek a new way of viewing issues, and dealing with each other. By using a different lens, perhaps a favorable picture will emerge. We in essence allow new ideas and concepts to enter.

Love has nothing to do with money. Expensive gifts do not denote greater love as many may think. The larger ring does  not mean a larger love for the person. By taking so much judgment out of any situation, perhaps it will alleviate the stress. Love does not have to die. We can always choose to keep it alive. Any relationship can survive. Of course there are always others who are insecure and who make it their job to sabotage our relationships with others. These people have their own insecurities and agendas which affect our bonds to others.

 I surmise that those who are less judgmental, more secure in their own worth, and keep their unconditional love alive, will have a greater chance of happiness and love. Love does not need to be tested every day. Love does not need to be hidden from others. Love does not need to have a closed circle. My idea of love is a trusting heart, an open loving attitude, and a line that continues and captures all into its embrace.

Taking love and placing it into a cage, creates anger and darkness. Freely spreading love around transforms the world in all kinds of ways. Just because we have a bad day with our friend or spouse doesn’t mean the bonds are broken. They are just stressed at the moment. The worst thing we can do is dwell on these thoughts over and over. Instead we should attempt to push them from our minds and consider the good. Never take the smallest act of kindness for granted. As a matter of fact, perhaps we should never take any and all love for granted. Love when someone deserves it. Love when someone least deserves it, and you will keep love strong and safe.

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”    Brent Brown

“When you know that everything matters—that every move counts as much as any other—you will begin living a life of permanent purpose.”    Andy Andrews

“When you suffer, you are being conformed to the image of Jesus. When you pray, you are being made holy in the image of Jesus. When you quietly serve a person in need, you are being shaped into the image of Jesus. When you generously give, your heart is being remade into the image of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.”     Allen R. Hunt

“Theologians talk about a provenient grace that precedes grace itself and allows us to accept it. I think there must also be a provenient courage that allows us to be brave – that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm. And therefore, this courage allows us, as the old men said, to make ourselves useful. It allows us to be generous, which is another way of saying exactly the same thing.”    Marilyn Robinson

“If the people of God were to transform the world through fascination, these amazing teachings had to work at the center of these peculiar people. Then we can look into the eyes of a centurion and see not a beast but a child of God, and then walk with that child a couple of miles. Look into the eyes of tax collectors as they sue you in court; see their poverty and give them your coat. Look in to the eyes of the ones who are hardest for you to like, and see the One you love. For God loves good and bad people.”    Shane Claiborne

If you give, expecting something in return, it’s not really giving at all.
If you love, expecting something in return, it’s not really loving at all.”    Donald  L. Hicks

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