I’ve been struggling with certain demons for a while now.
Wrestling with relentless thoughts and their associated feelings. And it’s felt like a battle. Or maybe a question.
I don’t have the answer yet. But I’m getting closer. And along the way I have realised something significant.
A lot of the battle is trying to force myself to feel a certain a way about things. Challenging my core and my ideas of the world so that I can be an accepting, loving man. But there’s a huge difference between accepting someone as they are and necessarily approving or agreeing with everything they do, think or have done.
When I was a troublesome child I remember my mum saying
“I love you but I don’t always like what you do.”
And there’s magic in that. Not liking what someone does, what they’ve done, how they think or how they show up in the world is entirely separate from loving them. And we don’t have to take on someone else’s way of thinking or acting to be able to love them.
It’s a lie that love should magically align two unique human’s ideas of life or blind us to differences in thinking or feeling. Lust and need does that. Love shines bright on ourselves and those we love and asks us “can you see this and still love?” And sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes the difference in thinking or feeling is simply too far outside our own view and experience of life, love, sex or ourselves. And that’s okay.
But sometimes it’s yes. Sometimes we can see a person, see the things we don’t like, the actions we don’t approve of, the feelings we don’t understand and still say with absolute confidence “I love you.”
We don’t have to change our way of thinking or try to adjust our own moral compass to match another’s. Be honest with yourself. We like what we like and we don’t like what we don’t like. And that might just be enough. We are fine just as we are and no one has to agree with us and we don’t have to agree with anyone else.
We don’t have to battle with ourselves or deny our feelings about something just to line up with what someone else thinks. We don’t have to align ourselves with what we simply aren’t aligned with. There’s nothing wrong with being honest enough to say that we don’t like this or that and that we don’t want to show up in the world in exactly the same way. As long as we are not judging or hurting, it’s fine to be authentic.
And that doesn’t have to negate love. In fact, it could push us to experience a new love more vast than we had ever imagined. It is untrue that two people in love will feel exactly the same way about everything or will have lived their lives the same ways. Those differences are not a sign that it’s not love. They are a sign that we’re human.
We can still love. We can still be in love. We can still look at the person our heart chose, see all of them and love them all the same.
We don’t have to agree with everything, we don’t have to like everything and we don’t have to have the same opinions on everything.
We just have to be honest.
And love the heck out of the person who occupies our heads as much as our hearts.
Author: Andy Charrington
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Jan Fidler/Flickr