Mother Teresa once said that, ““Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
The words “love without getting tired” resonated with me because that’s something I can relate to. I think we all can at different times in our lives otherwise our world would be a much different kind of place. I believe we’re all like Anne Frank (one of my heroes) once said:
“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
Deep down we all just want to connect with others, to love and be loved by others. So we go day to day trying to be our authentic selves in the world. Maybe by giving strangers a quick smile as you pass by, or you let someone with road rage go ahead of you, or you give that lady standing in front of you at the store a kind compliment. But then that stranger you smiled at, instead of smiling back – scowls. Or that road rage person still honks at you in anger not sensing that you’re trying to help them. Or that lady at the store, maybe she doesn’t acknowledge you when you’re trying to be kind to her.
It’s in these small moments where we make this choice, this decision. You decide that you tried. It didn’t work. Time to move on. In short, we get tired of loving others. What happens at this point is we generally give up. We decide that we’re not going to smile at the next stranger because the previous one didn’t like it. We decide we’re not going to let the next aggressive driver pass because the last one didn’t appreciate your efforts. We decide to not open our mouths when we see something we like about another person at the store because the last person didn’t even acknowledge you. We grow tired of loving others.
But this is a mistake. When you genuinely love others it feels amazing. It doesn’t matter how they respond. It was still authentic and real – even if they don’t believe it.
Just because that person scowled back at me when I offered kindness to them – it doesn’t lessen the value of my offer. Can you love them and let them be wrong about you? That person with the road rage? Even if they still yell at you or honk when you’re trying to be kind to them. Does it change the fact that you were offering kindness to them? No. Your offer is still 100% valid and worthwhile. You also get to feel that same amazing feeling inside AS IF they had responded how you’d want them to – as if they had responded back lovingly.
Love others because YOU ARE LOVING. Because you love the Savior who taught us the two great commandments, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
What would love look like to you? What feels most like love to you? Whatever that is – do it to others. Love them as you would want to be loved.
I have this friend who NEVER picks up the phone when I call…EVER and for a long time it really weighed me down. I made it mean all kinds of things, as we humans tend to do – She doesn’t really like me, She talks to others on the phone – what is it about me?, She doesn’t want to talk to me, etc. So for a while I stopped trying. I got tired of loving and it felt awful. I really did love her and just because she didn’t love me back the way I felt like she should didn’t change my offer and gestures of love and giving. It took a bit of mental work but I was able to learn two things that helped me feel better and continue to love without getting tired: I’m going to continue to love her as I would like to be loved WHILE learning to love her in a way that feels good to her.
We can reach out and love as we would want to be loved – to me that meant calling and chatting and doing something other than when we’d get together in person. So I’d invite, still call occasionally, text, etc. All the while learning to love her as she likes – which meant not calling – because for whatever reason that’s not what felt like love to her. I could text instead – she liked texting – that would work too.
Just because it’s not the way I thought it “should” be didn’t diminish the value of what that friendship was. It didn’t matter how she responded as long as I continued to love her in small and genuine ways.
Remember the two things:
1.) Love others as you would want to be loved – if that’s time, offer them time. If that’s gifts – give them little gifts. Figure out
what it is for you and give it UNCONDITIONALLY – without any expectation of
how it should be received – love for the sake of loving.
2.) Learn to love them how they like to be loved
-ask questions, observe, LISTEN to them and learn how they show love to others
Then love them the way they like to be loved.
MOST OF ALL – LOVE WITHOUT GETTING TIRED. The act of loving and feeling loving generates energy. Love feels amazing. When you serve and give out of love – you feel most alive. If we could love -without any reservation – it would be possible to love without getting tired. It’s the drama we add to the loving that depletes us and grows wearisome. It’s the meaning you’re adding to how they receive your offers of love that create drama, resistance, and lack.
This holiday season is a perfect time to make a new resolve to love without getting tired. Love others as you walk passed them on the street. Love others while you stand in seemingly forever long lines at the stores. Love others in your authentic and genuine ways. Love without getting tired. I know you can do it and when you do – it’ll feel amazing.