This week I came across the expression “love and you will be loved” several times and it got me thinking about how in theory it can and does work but the problem is what it infers. Depending on what you have already learned about “love” different messages are received through this saying. This phrase is so often said as a solution for everything just like with other sayings such as; Love heals all wounds; Love is the answer; if you are lonely then simply Love someone. It implies that if you “are not loving” then you will not be loved and the message that I “heard” is that I was not loved because I was not loving enough which led to me trying harder in impossible and abusive situations. This directive “love and you will be loved” seems to imply that we are all able to love as though love is something we just “know” how to do. Are we born knowing how to love or do we learn how to love by first being loved.
“Love and you will be loved” is often said as a reprimand. That phrase has some baggage that goes along with it. It decides that you will only be loved IF you love and that is fine. I am not disagreeing with that concept. It is the way that it is applied that I have an issue with. In our society, it seems to be applied to the victim in any given situation. The statement seems to infer that if you are struggling then it must be YOUR fault. If you are lonely, it is YOUR fault. If you are oppressed, what did you do to cause it? If you are being abused, or if you were mistreated (in any way) in the past, what did you do bring that on to yourself?
What if the saying “love and you shall be loved” was applied to the adults FIRST before it is applied to their children. What if we lived in a world where everyone said to parents with regards to their children “you reap what you sow” instead of these sayings always being directed to the children? What if the saying “love and you shall be loved” was aimed at my mother and father in regards to the way that they treated me? Perhaps that is why I am not the “loving and devoted” daughter they “expected” me to be. They didn’t teach me to love. They didn’t model love. They didn’t love. There was no action behind the words “love”.
“The world” looks at me as an ungrateful child who has disrespected my parents with my blog. I am harshly judged for writing the truth as well as for standing up to them. The “world” thinks that I am the one with the problem. What is wrong with that picture?
Where did you learn to love? How did you learn what “love” was? What do you think “love” is? These were the kinds of questions that helped me sort things out. These are the kinds of questions that led me to become an independent and LOVING individual with a full and happy life and with wonderful loving children. Answering these questions has saved my marriage and helped us to break the cycle of dysfunctional family systems within our marriage and with our children.
The following poem/quote by Dorothy Law Nolte is shared virally on facebook.
“If a child lives with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive,
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves,
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
But do not despair …
If a child lives with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If a child lives with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, they live with justice.
If a child lives with security, they live to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, they learn to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship they learn to find love in the world.”
Dorothy Law Nolte
Please see the complete version here: Dorothy Law Nolte Poem
Everyone loves to share beautiful stuff like this but articles such as the ones that I write about the reality of children who have NOT been raised this way are not shared nearly as much. The reality of child abuse and child neglect that so many adults share is not nearly as popular as this wisdom and truth in Dorothy’s quote. Her words are truth and they are the ideal but it is frowned upon in polite society if we have discussions about the way kids turn out if we ARE NOT raised with all this love and nurturing because it points the finger at the parents and there is some sort of huge taboo about doing that.
We are not going to solve the problem of child abuse without discussing the pain of being those children. It is the adult children who are IN so much pain who are raising the future generations and it will only be by facing ALL the truth that will lead to global change. If the cycle of child abuse (emotional abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse or spiritual abuse) and neglect is going to be broken, the painful details that involve dysfunctional families have to be talked about too.
Please share your thoughts about this topic. I look forward to the discussion.
Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time
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Related Posts: “When Children are not regarded as Actual People”