Performance Improvement Ideas

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.*

"Love Confuses Me." 

October 16, 2009 reviewed by Mike Strawbridge

I still have a lot to learn about love.  Love confuses me.  At least the way other people express it confuses me.  Love seems simple to me but when I talk to others about love, I get confused.

For example, I love my dog.  This means I enjoy feeding him and caring for him.  I enjoy seeing him run through the woods.  I want to provide a safe comfortable place for him to sleep.  I enjoy petting him and just being with him.  He expresses his love for me by rubbing against me and wagging his tail.  It is a pretty one sided relationship but we both enjoy it.

I also love drinking Coca Cola.  I can’t say I love Coca Cola because from what I have read, the company may have some business practices that I would not agree with.  But I do really enjoy the crisp burn of ice cold Coke on my tongue.  I love to feel the bubbles of carbonation fizz in my mouth.  I love the way the phosphoric acid washes off any food residue on my pallet.  This relation ship seems unbalanced as well, as the Coke gives me a lot of pleasure but I really don’t give any thing back to the Coke.

I love looking at the stars on a clear night.  I love to look at the shapes they make and wonder how far away they really are.  I love the contrast of the black and white.  I also love sunsets.  I love to see all the different colors that glow in the trees as the sun sets behind my house.  The sky gives me a lot of pleasure but I don’t do much for the sky.  All I can do is send my love to the sky.

I have been learning a lot lately about loving my self.  When I spend time alone, I realize just how nice it is to be me.  When I escape the judgment of others and look at the skills and talents I have, I really love being me.  I have a strong healthy body.  I am very observant and see small details in things that I find very interesting.  I love finding out how things work. I enjoy seeing how things are made and examining the details.  I really enjoy life when I interact with nature and with technology.  This seems a fairly balanced relationship as I take care of myself and I can enjoy being me even more.

Love becomes confusing to me when it comes to loving other people.  I find that this love is often not returned the way I wanted or expected it to be. 

When I was in high school, I met a guy who became a very close friend.  We worked on cars and electronics together.  We were room mates in collage.  After school, he helped me get a job in the place where he was working.  Then later, I helped him get a job in the place where I was working.  We built race cars together and competed as a team in several sports car rallies even winning a couple of National Championship events.

We enjoyed spending time together and accomplishing projects together.  However over the years of working for the same company in a variety of positions, we seemed to drift apart.  When he transferred to another location and I left the company we parted ways completely.  Now I only see him at funerals.

I recently joined a fraternal organization that promotes itself as one of brotherly love.  However as I have taken on more responsibility in the group and have tried to bring more organization and accountability to the group which is the started goal of their bylaws, I have met with resistance and open hostility.  My motives are based in love but the reflection has been any thing but loving.  

The most confusing aspect of love for me seems to be jealousy.  For the most part, I feel genuinely happy when good things happen to my friends and acquaintances.  If they prosper, I feel good.  I am sure that my turn will come.  I also expect that they will help me succeed just as I have helped them succeed.  

When I was racing I would often help my competitors when they had a need.  I did not enjoy winning against a fellow racer because he had a problem.  I preferred to win only by my skill not his misfortune.  Sometimes a competitor would win against me because I helped him, but I never had a problem with that.  I did feel bad however if that assistance was not reciprocated when I needed help at a later event.  

I love seeing people succeed and living up to their full potential.  I never like seeing people fail.  I try to always encourage people to keep trying and learn from their failure so that they will eventually succeed.  I do get frustrated when people continue to fail with out making any headway toward success.  I still love them but I do get frustrated if they expect me to continue helping them.

What I don’t understand about love is why people are jealous of another’s success. 

The most confusing part of love to me is in romantic relationships.  I heard in the news toady about a woman who killed her husband because she saw him hugging another woman.  This seems a strange way to express love to me.  I don’t understand how some one can be treated like property and that be considered love.

The whole boyfriend / girlfriend system always seems to involve property rights.  People are spoken of as “mine” or “taken” or other words to denote exclusivity and ownership. I don’t see what this has to do with love.

Love is about caring about her welfare of another.  It is about enjoying an experience.  Love is about kindness and growth. 

I don’t see how the act of possessing someone has anything to do with love. 

I remember in my religious upbringing that I was supposed to not do certain things that seemed fun because Jesus loved me.  I never saw the logic in that statement.  First of all why would someone who loved me not want me to have fun?  Second, why should his loving me motivate me to change my actions?  I can see why I might not want to do something to upset someone I loved, but why should I care if someone loved me.

The manipulation of behavior through the giving or holding back of love has never made sense to me.   Love should just be love.  I recently discovered the term “unconditional love.”  That means that there is also conditional love.  I suspect that conditional love was what I have experienced most of my life.

Jesus loves me but only if I behave a certain way.  God will love me but only if I follow his rules and all the ones the church leaders have made up to go along with them.  Oh and some of those laws in the bible, they don’t apply to us.  Don’t worry, your teachers will explain which ones God will stop loving you for violating and which ones are OK to ignore.

However, the love I give has never been conditional.  I don’t stop loving Coke because once I drank one that was flat.  I don’t stop loving sunsets because one was not quite so pretty. I sure did not stop loving my dog when he was hit by a car and had his leg permanently deformed.

I have a huge capacity to love, but I am frustrated that my love is not often returned. It seems every one I associate with wants to put conditions on returning love to me.  They also want to put conditions on receiving love from me.

I still have a lot to learn about love. But I think I would rather learn about love form my dog than from religion.


 Mike Strawbridge October 16, 2009