The wisdom of old that has been a guiding principle for me most of my life; reason and value. Plain desire has never accounted for much. If I want something I better be able to justify a) why I want it and b) what I have done to deserve it. Be it arguing for a raise in pocket money or why it is that I do not believe in God to why I must choose philosophy over psychology or why I would not study media but run Free. From why I have the friends I do and why I feel and do what I do for them to why I should follow my dreams and disregard convention. Yes, these are all founded in strong emotion, but they must be qualified by reason and traded for value.
I must admit, I have created an art form out of justifying desert; be it to myself or anyone else. I must say that I have seen the value of it. It allows me to be firm. It allows me peace of mind. It allows me righteous indignation when I have to defend my choices.
It also gives me faith. Faith that if I really truly want and love something, then all I must do is earn it and it shall be mine. If I love the subjects I learn enough then I will earn that haloed first rank. If I believe in my dreams enough I will do what it takes to earn success. Having for me has almost been a by-product of deserving. Not that other factors do not influence it, but by far the most crucial and the one most under your control is that you do and be what it takes to deserve what you want.
This had always worked for me. Always. There have been setbacks and failures, but that which I love, be it anything, I have been willing to pay the price for and I have never gone without. Even after I learned the difficult lesson that it is okay to have emotions you can’t qualify and learned to be compassionate to myself, I retained a degree of control. I may not be able to always influence my emotions, but I always have a choice in how I respond to them. Thus, it is that it has taken me a flash of insight to realize: Love cannot be earned.
It is a curious realization, but not entirely unbelievable, that a fundamental principle of one’s life may sub-consciously influence even those aspects of one’s life that one intellectually understands is beyond the scope of that rule. It is here that I understand that this principle also leaves me prone to bitterness and there has been no other emotion that has given me more pause for bitterly painful reflection than love.
My premise has been faulty. There is nothing I can do or be to earn love. I can’t be a better person, a better friend, more loving, or funnier, a better cook, smarter, more talented, more engaging or less intense, less emotional, less demanding, less unconventional, less crazy, less weird or anything else. There is nothing I can do or be to earn a person’s love no matter how much I love them.
It is this which paves the way for lack of control, for vulnerability, for pain and madness; hallmarks of love. Maybe, that is also the value of Love. To be loved not because one deserves it (not that one is undeserving) but because it is given freely and without condition. What must that be like? Not that I haven’t been loved, to the contrary in fact. But to not feel wholly responsible for having and maintaining it? Never being flummoxed by the questions; What did I do wrong? Could I have done or been any different? Tell me, what will it take? Never to bitterly ask, "What more could I have done?" Well, it just goes to say that receiving is a whole different ball game from giving and that I would do well to remember; Love cannot be earned. Heh.