The Cost Of Love

love lostPeople who know me well, know I tend to be a loving person.  I am also a sensitive person, at times, too sensitive.  It’s both a blessing and a curse.  It’s a blessing in that I find it easy to show and express my love for people.  A curse, in that I get my feelings hurt too easily.

I have tried to shield myself from getting hurt by expressing lack of concern or caring, but it isn’t really true. I do care, very deeply, about the people I love, and the things that matter to me.  I have spent my life caring about people, and about doing the things I believe matter.  The result has been that I have gotten hurt many times.

I often wonder what I can do about it.  I can’t just stop caring.  It isn’t in me not to care.  It isn’t other people’s fault.  They are who and what they are.  If I stop caring, it would change who I am into a person I don’t wish to be.  I have taught that what other people do is not what matters, but how we respond to what others do or say is what matters, because, after all, that involves our actions and choices.

I have tried to not care, but that doesn’t work.  I know from long experience that arguing doesn’t work either.  What I have come to, is to accept the cost.  If I want love, I have to be willing to pay the cost of love. People I don’t care about really can’t hurt me.  You have to open yourself to people if you want to experience love.  If you don’t open yourself to them, you will never experience love.  It means the people whom you love the most have the potential for hurting you the most. It means being willing to get your feelings hurt from time to time.  Those feelings will eventually subside.  If you don’t pay the price, you cheat yourself out of relationships with the ones you love.  

Love is a risk. Not loving involves no risk, but it means loneliness.  I would rather take the risk, and have the relationships.  In my life, I’ve endured pain and disappointments. They are part of life.  Its like the old adage by Lord Alfred Tennyson, “It’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.”

So what can you do about your feelings? The feelings we experience come and go.  We eventually get over them if we are willing to let go of them.  Remember that your love for others is what matters.  Love is a rare commodity in the world.  People are not so quick to throw it away.  Even when they do, we have a choice about how to respond. If someone hurts my feelings, I can dwell on them and get defensive, or I can try to comply with their wishes, to make them happy, and in so doing, perform an even greater act of love for them.  Real love does not seek its own.  It comes down to forgiving them for the hurt, and continuing to love them.

Some people mistake kindness for weakness.  That is a big mistake.  It takes a strong person to ignore their own hurt and bless the ones who hurt them.  This is what it means to turn the other cheek.  It’s something we want everyone else to do, but it’s not easy to do ourselves.  Real love is blessing the other person, not seeking your own way, letting yourself be hurt for the sake of those you love.  The cost of not doing it is too high.

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4 thoughts on “The Cost Of Love

  1. Proverbs give us a lot of wisdom about relationships. If we are honest, we claim to love people when we really need their love, acceptance and approval. Perhaps that is what is meant by,
    “perfect (mature) love casts out fear.” A love that is wholesome and complete can reach out to others without expecting anything in return.

  2. Rabbi, I’m not so sure that one should try to comply with the wishes of someone who has hurt him. In my opinion, that will just feed the hurtful desires of the offender. I think it is best to try to consider the source and just move on. You cannot force anyone to love you. I’ve often wondered why I love this person, but not so much that one. To me it seems to be an organic development in many cases. In any event, real love is a wonderful thing, a treasure, to be viewed with awe, and treated as a thing beyond value, whether you are the lover or the lovee.

  3. Thank you Rabbi for this post. What you write, got me in my heart. Well known situation for me. I guess some of us destined for all this. “Love is risk” I better have this risk than nothing, even when all those people around will poor on me poison. There is few of us around like this, so be encouraged. I remember your name from Ukrainian times in 90’s.

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