What Love Is Not

The word “love” is often misused. How often have you heard someone say one of the following sentences?

“He loves money.”

“She loves shoes.”

“They love to fight.”

Almost every week you’ll hear the word “love” used in ways that distort its real meaning and power.

Love of money is not love. Love of money may be an obsession, a compulsion, an emotional need — but it is not love. Love of shoes or other goods, likewise, is not love. It may be a lust for particular objects or possessions, but it is an illusion.

On their deathbeds, people do not say, “If only I had had more shoes in my life.” Their parting thoughts are usually about loved ones, or the mistakes they made with their loved ones. There may also be other loves: their pets, nature, or their own contributions to the world — mostly gestures of sacrifice and love. Their regrets will often center on lack of love, or sadness for relationships that went wrong. Frequently in their final days or moments they reach out to do what they could not do while healthy — to resolve the great pain caused by lack of understanding, lack of compassion, and lack of love.

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey reminds us that “love is a verb.” It’s not passive. It requires practice and action. Has your concept of love been warped by the Hollywood and television interpretation of love? Movie love happens fast, is fleeting, and is often cruel and shallow. In the real world, love needs time to develop and time to solidify. When you give love, you receive love. Real love is an example of how giving and receiving are so intertwined.

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