I Love. ~ Steve Bearman

Via Steve Bearman
on Oct 12, 2013
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Love Actually, Valentine's Day, relationships, love

I love.

I wish I could say that I love you, but the truth is that I just love and you happened to get in the way.

Now, most people would take offense at this, tell me how impersonal it feels, how if I just love everybody because they happen to be there, then my love for any particular person is not special.

But you are special before I love you. You are special even if I do not love you. You are unique, and I am unique, and therefore the love we share is unique. If you don’t feel special, it is only because you have learned to define yourself in opposition to others, competitively.

You have learned to identify particular qualities in other people, decided that only by matching up to those qualities will you be worthy and important, and then you don’t match up.

Maybe those particular qualities are irrelevant to your unique nature and your essence is characterized by other qualities entirely. But you do not recognize your extraordinary and beautiful qualities; instead you have lost in a competition of comparisons. And you have learned to do this, and so now you are insecure.

And it feels like love directed from me to you, love which appears to have something to do with your qualities, and based on reasons, and which I only direct at you and not at everyone else—it feels like this love will be enough to actually make you special, enough to transform your mundanity and ordinariness into specialness, as if my love makes you into something.

When in fact, in the presence of love masquerading as having something to do with your qualities, you only stop noticing for a short while just how insecure you still feel, and only when for some reason my love for you lapses or is withheld do you notice and remember that you are still as insecure as always, still feel as undeserving, unremarkable and inadequate.

Because what you’re doing is asking for conditional love.

You want a love that depends on you possessing certain qualities or having certain accomplishments or being specific ways. You want a love that only comes to you because of something you supposedly are that’s different from everybody else, and you don’t always stop to notice that if you stop being this way that you supposedly are that makes me conditionally love you, then I won’t love you anymore, and this’ll prove how ordinary and therefore unlovable you are because you don’t meet these inappropriate self-imposed standards you’ve learned.

And you are constantly under the threat of being cut off from my love, or of my love being intercepted by someone who beats you in the competition of comparisons. And this threat exists because the kind of love you’re looking for, which is maybe the only kind of love you think there is, is conditional.

And if you would stop to notice that the love I love that has nothing to do with you that you happened to get in the way of is utterly unconditional, then maybe you would see that precisely what makes you special is that you are ordinary, and that it is ordinary to be special.

And in fact, the more ordinary you are, the more your true essence of specialness can be present, because it’s not being obstructed by a pose or a pretense that you can’t hold up anyway.

And the kind of love that can be shared by two utterly ordinary people is the most ordinary kind of love, and it is therefore not only the most special and unique love that we can share, but it is also the most unconditional, and not obscured by reasons or circumstances.

And this love, the love that I love that you happened to get in the way of, must also be the love that you love that I happened to get in the way of, and being the only kind of love that is completely unconditional, it is also the only kind of love that can not be threatened by conditions changing, and so it is the only real source of security.

So for you to be secure in the fact that you are in fact special and unique, and that you are special and unique precisely because you are ordinary and human, requires that you accept this ordinary, unconditional love that has nothing to do with you as the only love that is really available to us anyway, and recognize that this form of loving is really all you’ve ever wanted when you thought you wanted transitory, conditional love directed at you because of your supposed qualities and attributes.

And if you realized all this, you wouldn’t take offense when I say that I love, that I just love and you happened to get in the way. Instead you would answer with the only answer you could give in the presence of such awesomely ordinary love.

You would say, of course,

I love too.

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Assistant Ed. Paige Vignola/Ed: Sara Crolick



About Steve Bearman

Steve Bearman, Ph.D.: Founder of the Interchange Counseling Institute in San Francisco, Steve is a counselor, social justice educator, and workshop leader. In addition to teaching Interchange’s year-long Counseling and Coaching Training Program, which is now in its 10th year, he also leads workshops on community building, relationships, overcoming anxiety, gender role conditioning, healing body shame, death and grieving, and spiritual practice.



6 Responses to “I Love. ~ Steve Bearman”

  1. Dani says:

    That's all fine and good, and I agree. But sometimes a gal just wants to hear "I love you," without all the layers intellectual/spiritual psychobabble. You're right, of course, but why is it so difficult for some people to simply utter, "I love you?" After all, "I love" everything/everyone/these subatomic particles that make up you and the rest of the universe includes "you."

    Loving someone/everyone/the universe would seem to compel a person to want to please the beloved with these simple words.

  2. Katherine says:

    I get what you're saying. I had a boyfriend once that (after we bought a house together, mind you) switched from "I love you" to "I love you, but not that way."

    Love is so misunderstood, people feel they need a qualifier to explain exactly what is meant. Most people don't actually have any clue what real love looks or feels like. You can only say "I love you" without reservation, if you actually know how to love unconditionally. We all do, but most have forgotten.

    Also, love isn't about pleasing others so much as it is about please one's own heart. The gift to another comes from what is available to be offered. So to return love we must also accept unconditionally that what is offered is precious.

    You can only speak what you know. You can only accept what you are aware of.

  3. kristinalicia72 says:

    I think the person that loves unconditionally, as this piece describes, can say "I love you" without getting all tripped up in the cobwebs of "I love you"s past, that eventually lead to "I'm leaving". What about when "I love you" doesn't meaning anything at all, but it's as much an auto-response as 'Gesundheit' when someone sneezes?

    The unconditional "I love you" is so pure, so true. In my experience, the person who truly loves unconditionally has no problem saying "I love you" at all.

    I LOVE this piece. 🙂

  4. Amy E says:

    I love this, too. This is a mature view of Love. There are so many kinds of Love. None have to lessen the value of the other. They are not mutually exclusive. When we get older, hopefully, our views become more broad. Love takes on many definitions because we have much more experience…and baggage. Ideally, we work to reduce the baggage and just live to love.

  5. Angela says:

    That opening sentence is so cute. Made me laugh and agree!

    I LOVE the concept of "I love" without an object, because if there's an object, that's the ego at work, there's limitation set up.

    There's expectation, illusion, and little self at work, which provides a momentary flash of happiness and satisfaction (ego-stroking) but is doomed to shrivel up and fade. Which this article beautifully illustrates, thank you to the author.

    If there were more who just "I love" instead of "I love you", there'd be fewer broken hearts, resentments, jealousies, insecurities, what have you, I think 🙂

  6. MissP says:

    I just opened my eyes to understand why i feel so insecure sometimes… because I have just admitted to myself that even when I think i am myself all the time, I am also a poser that is constantly trying to show the person i am interested in at the moment, that I have these and those qualities and he seemed so interested and into me at the beginning and now that the rush has calmed down i've been having bad days feeling so insecure because deeply without knowing what i just read, i thought he wasn't seeing my super qualities anymore… this made me sad to see what i've been doing but totally just opened my eyes to try to be more aware and stop trying to make someone love me for how fantastic i am… it's weird because I do, i do just love people and i pray all that about being a complete being that just wants someone to share life with but everyone can be special not just one… and here i am trying to make myself special so people love me.. now i see why i feel so insecure… thank you for this.