Loving Means Letting Go
To some, Love is like a monster, out to cause misery and pain but I think Love is like a friendly giant-‐ adorable and kind but often misunderstood.
I have heard many things about Love while growing up and I am not sure which exactly are accurate and which ones are just a misled and sad person ranting in the form of quotes/statements. But one quote always stuck in my head: "If you love someone, you have to let him/her go".
What in the world does that even mean??? If I want to be romantically involved with someone, I need to let him/her go? What? Then there will be no relationship!
...clearly I did not understand what the author of that quote meant back then but I think I have a slight inkling about it now.
Many times we think of Love as something that we give. It is a part of us, which we give, willingly, to someone because we adore them. But more often than not, we also ask to receive something in return for the love that we have given. Sounds somewhat like barter trading? Still, we do wish to receive something as reciprocation of our given love.
Other times, we seek to measure and find proofs of Love. "I love you enough to do...for you", or "If you love me, you would...for me!" And if you are Bruno Mars, you would probably go catch a grenade or put your hand on a blade for the person that you love.
"Or pull a piano across the street with a rope and bare hands."
We try to quantify Love into something that we can see and then decide for ourselves whether or not we should love that person more or less, depending on how much he/she is willing to do for us.
But that is not what Love is.
Love does not exist only when there is someone ready to accept it. It exists as long as you are willing to give it.
Love is also not represented by how many gifts you receive or how much danger a person is willing to encounter for you.
Love is also not the number of favours given. Love is a voluntary thing. Love also only seeks the benefit of the other person. Love does not care about itself...Love cares about the person who receives it.
So what does it mean when we say that we need to let go of the person we love?
I think it means freedom...the freedom to choose and make decisions. It means we cannot coerce the person into loving us or being appreciative of our love. It also means that regardless of whether or not the person acknowledges our love, it does not affect the existence of our love for him/her.
Take parents for example.
There will always come a time when most parents will struggle with letting go or loosening their grip on their children. Most possibly this happens when their children are in their teenage years or approaching adulthood. They will struggle because they love their children...they want the best for their children but they are afraid to let their children run loose in this world.
Regardless, parents will eventually have to let go.
They will have to take the back seat and watch their children grow. They will have to be accepting when one day their children come to them and say, "Mum/Dad, I love this guy/girl so much but he/she doesn't seem to appreciate me", and provide comfort and advice.
They can only watch while their children fall in and out of love, and smile when their children say, "Why am I always being hurt by the people I love?", but they cannot ask, "Then what about us, your parents?"
They will also have to grit their teeth when they see their children getting hurt by the people in this world because they know that it is all part and parcel of growing up.
They stop being a shield for their children. Instead, they become a safety net, a bomb shelter, a safe place where their children can turn to when they have grazed their knees.
And that, in my opinion, is what letting go when you love someone means.
It means being there but not taking away their freedom of choice and decision-‐making. It means not asking to receive love but to give unconditionally. It also means continuing to love them even though they do not see or appreciate the love that they are receiving from you.
But do not be mistaken that such Love can only be found between parents and children, or lovers. The same perseverance and endurance applies whenever you love someone-‐ as a friend, as a partner, as a sibling, or in any type of relationship.
At the end of the day, Love is that friendly giant that protects, cares, and gives only the best for the other, without ever asking for anything in return.
Qimin, Champagne SG