Love them for who they are

>> Thursday, June 22, 2006

Upon reading the following quote by Thomas Merton, I have been meditating upon what it means for me and what it means for those whom I love.

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them." - Thomas Merton
If you know anything of my background, you know that I grew up in a very conservative, evangelical Christian home where conformity and following the rules were the keys to love and acceptance. It wasn't until well into adulthood did I encounter the person who would not only challenge my notions of what love is, but who would, for the first time in my life, demonstrate true, unconditional, sacrificial love for me. It was in my relationship with Steph that I learned unconditional acceptance was the first step towards unconditional love. Steph was the first person who loved me for who I was without having to make me over into someone else. She celebrated even the most "challenging" aspects of my personality and took those as only a part of the whole person, a person who she found to be beautiful, intelligent, loving, and fascinating. Her way of loving changed my life, and transformed my way of thinking and being. As a result, I am a much better friend, spouse, mother, and person. And as I implement this kind of love into my relationships, I find that I am more at peace with myself, with others, and with my creator.
It is not necessary for me to understand why people are who and what they are, but it is essential that I love and accept them for what and who they are without placing my expectations and reality upon them, or making them over into who or what I believe they should be. This isn't always easy, but it is something that I strive to achieve in all of my relationships.



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