In my last blog entry, I quoted the lyric’s from Meatloaf’s song, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad and talked about the differences between wanting and loving someone. Today, I am going to share specific examples of how to distinguish between being loved versus simply being wanted. You are welcome to disagree with my thoughts on these differences, and I welcome others’ perspectives as I am currently working through all of this with a relationship in my life.
When I love someone, I make the effort to “see” him or her. I listen when the other person talks, and I take note of things that make the other person happy or meet his or her needs. As an example, when I was across the country traveling with a friend, she really wanted something from a gift shop but talked herself out of buying it for herself, which I knew she would do because I pay attention – she has a difficult time spending money on herself. So, I purchased the item for her as a Christmas present. When she opens it, she will feel my love – not because I spent X amount of dollars on her but because I listened and got her something that she really wanted.
I have another friend who has Celiac disease and cannot eat any wheat. She told me that she had not eaten a birthday cake that she did not make herself (with rice flour) in several years (since she got her diagnosis) and that this made her feel unloved. So, I found the very best wheat-free cake on the planet here (I love it and don’t have gluten issues!) and shipped her the cake for her birthday. She cried – not because of how much she loved the cake (and, believe me, she LOVED that cake!) but because I listened and took action to meet her need, which showed her how much I love her.
If someone loves you, he or she will do loving things for you. The person will listen to you when you talk and “hear” you – about your hopes, dreams, and unmet needs. If it is within the person’s power to act, he or she will take action to show you that you are valued and loved. My examples above were about spending money, but it doesn’t have to be. I told one friend I loved her by offering to babysit her children when she needed some time to herself. I told another friend that I loved her by proofreading her papers before she submitted them to her college professor. When you love someone, you look for ways to make the other person’s life easier.
I have people in my life who want me but don’t love me. Their focus is on what **I** can do for **them**, and they pull away when I am not in a position to meet their needs, such as when I am sick. Our relationships work just fine as long as I am meeting their needs, but these are one-sided relationships, which is “want,” not “love.” It’s OK for me to have these people in my life because I do get things from the relationships as well, but it is very important that I recognize them for what they are so I don’t invest more than I will receive in return.
Image credit: Hekatekris