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How Love is all about making the tough choices

 In Blog, Relationships

We are sold this lie that love is all “beers and Skittles”, cloud 9 or heaven, when in reality love is about making the tough choices.

When your baby is first born, you think choice is about the cutest outfit or gazing adoringly into their eyes. Yet the reality is that you must choose between breast or bottle feeding them, letting them cry or picking them up all the time, giving them a dummy so they settle or not so they don’t cry when they lose it… the list is endless.

When your child gets into toddler years it’s not about letting them decide between broccoli and chocolate or between wearing a tutu or a jacket when it’s cold – you will have to make that choice for them.

When they first start school it’s not about letting them choose whether to buy ice-cream or lunch from the canteen – you have to decide that for them.

And when they are teenagers, you have to choose for them whether to drink alcohol underage is a bad idea – because they will think it’s a good idea.

And once they are adults, you will be faced with the toughest choice of all: whether to let them take their responsibilities (and face the consequences of their actions) or to continue mothering or fathering them to the point where they never grow up…

So it is really about making children functional elements of society, protecting them – even from themselves, and yet allowing them to flourish without clipping (too much of) their wings.

It is the same in adult relationships.

We can choose the easy way, enabling* the ones we love to stay in their addictions, their dysfunctions, by giving them what they want even though we can see it harms them, or we can face the tough choice, of ceasing to be a part of it.

And this goes into the wider society – what do we permit? Is the role of the politicians to give us what we want (endless access to boozing, gambling, sex) or what we need (roads, hospitals, safety)?

Love, real love, is about helping those we love to get what they need, even at the expense of what they want. It’s about supporting them in their struggle, not just in the good times.

To truly love is to accept to sometimes be unpopular rather than people-pleasing.

And that, in my eyes, is the toughest choice of all.


*Enabling: making someone’s life easier thus allowing them to continue with an unhealthy behaviour, for example offering an addict a roof over their head and food on the table, thus de facto allowing them to spend all their money on drugs or alcohol. See also co-dependency.

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