There are many important things in life, but I believe that three stand out: BIRTH, DEATH AND LOVE.
The first, BIRTH, doesn’t depend on us, it just happens; we are thrust into this world enjoying good health or suffering from different problems. None of us is free from what science calls “tendencies” or genetic defects. We will have to learn to live and struggle with these “birth gifts” all our life.
The second, DEATH, depends largely on what we have done with our body or on some fatality. What we have psychologically made of ourselves, and what we believe those around us think of us, will also influence our life and death. A human being’s greatest need after physical survival is psychological survival: to be understood, valued and appreciated. Not having peace of mind and feeling that we are victims of our own decisions, can lead us to an early grave.
On the other hand LOVE is an act of the will, something we decide to do from the very depths of our being.
In our present day world it is not always easy to express this feeling and we are often clumsy trying to do so.
But to love is an everyday exercise, in reality it is a verb, an action: TO LOVE.
In a couple, love has nothing to do with age or the number of years lived together, it has to do with the will and the desire one has to continue in the chosen relationship; be it a month, a year or forty years old.
Those by our side or who interact with us in different areas of our life, such as children, parents, friends or work mates are also recipients of our putting into practice the verb “to love”, and should be the reason for our happiness while we can be partners in the construction of theirs.
But in all relationships based on love there is something even more important: RESPECT
Many thinkers, philosophers and those who study human relations have said that respect is even more important than love. Without respect there cannot be a loving relationship and where it is lacking the exercise of loving cannot exist.
When our happiness is based on being the centre of attention and feeding on other people’s love in order to satisfy our own needs and interests, we are no longer respecting them.
“I love you on my own terms and in my own way”
“I love you when and how I like”
“I love you if you are like me”
When love is based only on own feelings and we stop thinking about who is by our side and his or her needs, it is no longer love, just selfish egotism.
Our birth and our death is not in our hands, it is the beginning and the end of our lives, everything in between depends on our attitudes, the RESPECT we have for others and our daily determination to LOVE.
It is difficult, but as the American poet and philosopher Ralph Emerson (1803-1882) said: