Tag Archives: behavior

LOVE…

LOVE

Ahhhhhhh! Love!

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear this word?

Romance? Emotions? Honeymoon? Funny feelings in your tummy?

Kissing? Hugs?

Interestingly enough, I put this phrase into Google “first thing you think of when you hear LOVE,” and the first link to pop up for me was a Yahoo Answers link. On it were answers such as these – in no particular order:

Fairy tale

Anger, pain and sadness

…being hurt

It’s an illusion

What IS it?

What was your first thought?

For the most part, we have allowed our society to dictate to us what LOVE is.

The first thing we must realize is that LOVE has no working definition. WHAT?!?! Try to define it and someone else will come up with another definition totally different than yours. Also, some of us define love based on our own experiences – whether positive or negative.

Some would define love as “hugging your children” while another might say what you feel on your wedding day. The two are VERY different emotions/feelings, but is that love?

Some may even define love as a sexual relationship or attraction.

Here is my answer to all of these. LOVE is not ANY of these things!

So, what is love? And cue song… “baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more…” (By Haddaway)

Great question! I’m glad you asked!

First let me describe what LOVE is not

It is not an emotion. It is not a feeling. It is not sex. It is not getting what you want all the time.

LOVE is a behavior, an action, a decision, a commitment. Let me be more specific:

Love is a choice. You cannot fall IN to love.

Let’s say you are standing on the edge of a cliff and down below about 20 feet is a pool of water. You are contemplating jumping off into the cool water, but you hesitate. Finally you decide it is worth the risk and you make the decision to jump in.

NOW, imagine you are on that same cliff, looking at the same water. You trip and fall tumbling over the side into the cool water. What is your first reaction? Is it one of elation? Or are you unsure of what is happening and how it will end up? Will you be pleasantly surprised? Or will you wish you had not fallen in, and you claw your way out of the water?

Which do you have more control over? YES! The first one!

At least if you make the decision to jump in, you have some idea of what you are getting yourself into. You make the commitment and you jump, understanding there are some things you may not be aware of, like how cold the water is, but nonetheless, you go for it.

We choose who to love, when to love, where to love, and how to love.

The best example I can give to you is this – Jesus. I know, I know – there he goes again talking about Jesus. Well, get over it!

Jesus gave us the best example of LOVE in the face of a most certain painful situation that was imminent should he choose to go down that path to become the sacrifice for our sins.

He had the opportunity to walk away from what would become an extremely painful death. But He was driven by love. That’s right! Why would someone choose that kind of pain and torture for love? Because He realized that from that painful circumstance it would pave the way for us to have a relationship with God.

So what is LOVE?

Love is Patient. When you are faced with a situation where you just want someone to realize you are there for them – patience is an act of love.

Love is Kind. When you would rather respond in vengeance, you decide to show kindness.

Love does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. You make the choice to be content with what you have, to be thankful for others and to look at yourself with sober judgment.

Love is not rude. When your first reaction is to be sarcastic and snarky, you decide to lock up the lips.

Love is not self-seeking – on the flip side, this means you actually look out for the needs of others.

Love is not easily angered. Ouch, that one hurt a little didn’t it. It takes a decision to suppress the anger that rises so quickly to an unwelcome event or comment.

Love does not keep a record of wrongs. When you are in a disagreement, this is the decision to NOT bring up all of the past hurts or offenses the other person has done against you. It is a continual choice to forgive.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Have you ever heard gossip that you know is not true? This is when you decide to push away the lie and gossip and stand with the truth.

This is where we need to discuss the qualities of LOVE that should ALWAYS be present. If these qualities are NOT present, then it is not love!

Love ALWAYS protects.

Love ALWAYS trusts.

Love ALWAYS hopes.

Love ALWAYS perseveres.

If you love someone, you choose to protect them, choose to trust them, choose to hope for the best, and choose to persevere through the difficult challenges.

If we put all of these into effect, than we can always count on LOVE, it will not fail us. Now how many of these are dependent on the recipient of your love?

If you answered none of them, you would be correct! Just as much as you decide to show these qualities, others must also decide to show them toward you. However, you do not need them reciprocated in order to love someone.

This means we can choose to love a complete stranger and provide a need for them. We can choose to love someone that has been rude to us.

LOVE is a choice: a choice to be committed; a choice to place ourselves in a vulnerable position with someone else. When we look at it this way and not as if we are “falling in love” we recognize if we choose to love, we can choose not to love.

Emotions come and go. I WISH I could stay happy all the time, but inevitably something will happen where I will become sad.

LOVE does not have to be as unstable as our emotions. As a matter of fact, Jesus showed how stable it really is, by loving us before we ever accepted Him as the Son of God and the One that takes away our sins. He loved us while we were denying His existence. He loved us while we were living our lives for ourselves.

Maybe this is how we are to love others. With the example Christ gave us, we can love others.

Choose to love.

This is such a big topic. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Shoot me an idea of another aspect of love you might want to hear about.


Hostility in a Relationship

Are there really people in this world that are hostile in how they treat others? Is it possible to be in a dysfunctional relationship and be trapped in a conversation and/or environment that is damaging to your spirit and emotional state?

The answers to these questions are a RESOUNDING YES!!!

The outcome of these types of situations usually drives the target of the hostility into a tailspin emotionally; they begin to feel as if the issue is their fault; and they spiral into this cycle where they feel trapped and as if they will never be able to break free from the manipulative grip of the one who is presenting the hostility.

This happens more than we would care to admit. We would rather not think about it hoping it will go away, or acting like it is not really an issue. We can be afraid to speak up or confront the person who is covertly or overtly causing the distress, because it may actually make it worse.

The only word for this behavior – is bullying. Bullying is hostility in relationships. Bullying and hostility happens when someone has crossed the line and begins to direct their abusive behavior or talk toward a particular individual that has not done anything to merit that behavior or talk.

There could be MANY reasons behind this kind of behavior or malicious talk. Maybe the personal life of the bully is a tornado of circumstance. Maybe they have a valid reason (at least in their minds) why they have chosen to direct their abusive behavior outward.

What I have found is no matter what the reasons are, there is absolutely no grounds to target an innocent individual, simply because they are different, have differing viewpoints, or may be a threat to your power or control.

I used to believe that everyone has good intentions and that there is a reason for their bad behavior or manipulative treatment of others. Through personal experience and research into this, I have discovered it is possible for an individual to have malicious intent toward another human being. There is no simple explanation as to WHY someone would do such a thing.

I would like to think it is an anomaly, but unfortunately it happens all too frequently in this world.

The question is…how does someone who is the recipient of bullying behavior to respond?

First of all, we could respond out of fear. This is a tough one. The fear this person is experiencing is usually a fear that if they confront the issue it will only elevate the negative behavior against them driving them further into depression, questioning themselves and keeping them from moving forward in their life.

Another response is to lash out. The recipient of this behavior can press down their feelings for so long that they become like a ticking time bomb. A person can only take so much pressure before they break. This breaking point can manifest in several ways. No matter how it manifests, the outcome is not positive.

Another response is to direct your anger towards those that you love. In other words, bullying can beget bullying. The way to stop this vicious cycle is to get the recipient of the bullying or hostility to open up in a safe and trusting environment – address it and provide a way out of it.

Still yet another response is to shut down completely and enter into a depression that affects you and those around you.

Any one of these responses has one thing in common. The recipient has allowed the source of their pain to have control over their heart, their emotions and their immediate future.

This is unacceptable.

I have been the recipient of this manipulative controlling behavior. It doesn’t feel good. I lost sleep. It affected my health. I allowed it to affect my family relationships. I even entered into a depressive state for a while.

Then a couple of things happened.

  1. Someone in my life saw what was happening and helped me to see what I was allowing to happen to me
  2. I realized that I needed to confront the issue or it would continue to drag me down.
  3. I understood (with some counsel) that I was yielding control of my life, emotions and heart to someone that did not truly have my best interests in mind.
  4. I realized my life, emotions and heart need to be protected, if only for those I love to have the best of me, and not the broken pieces left from a dysfunctional relationship.
  5. I decided not to willingly walk into any situation where this person could possibly manipulate me, control me or drag me down with their hostility.

None of these things were easy.

There is a way to frame this that I have found is the best possible way to deal with hostility in relationships.

I have a relationship with God that helps me understand that my identity is not the sum total of all my experiences, my life is not defined by the negative people who wish to step on me in order to get to a higher level.

My identity is found in my relationship with Jesus Christ. If God would send His Son for the express purpose of providing a way for me to have a relationship with Him – God sees value in my life – His creation.

I am not perfect. I am far from perfect. I make mistakes. I mistreat others on occasion.

The difference? My relationship with God helps me to see where my flaws are relationally and to work on them. If someone decides to treat me unfairly, with malicious intent, or with narcissistic tendencies – whether they know it or not – I decide how I am going to respond.

My first response now is to pray. My second response is to understand that Jesus is my source of strength. Everything that comes out of that is framed around my relationship with God.

As long as I maintain my integrity, honor and dignity in a situation – I believe God will protect me, avenge me, and provide what I need to make it through the relational emotional storm at the words and actions of someone else.

Besides, even though I cannot control or even change someone who treats me with hostility, I do not have to allow them to control my heart – because it belongs to God. I can confront the situation and rest assured God will give me the courage and the words to say.

One young man decided to take control over his emotions and heart after being bullied and treated with hostility. His example can become a catalyst for us to effect change in our surroundings – to help others to become less “me-centric” and more “you-centric”.

Watch this video and then feel free to post comments, email me directly or share your own story of how you overcame a hostile relationship.

I would LOVE to hear your stories and how you may have worked through a hostile relationship – whether work or personal. You can leave a comment on this blog OR email me at TheSophosGroup@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!