For those who may not know, a fallacy is mistaken belief, often times based on some principle or assumption that you did not know was actually wrong. It is like when you build a house only to realize the foundation is no good and the whole thing ends up crumbling down.
Recently, I have come to believe that there is a faulty assumption about love that almost everyone seems to build their life around, but in reality it causes an awful lot of struggle and anxiety because people don’t understand where they went wrong.
I want you to consider the true motives behind most human endeavors. I would say that most of the things we do, we do in order to be “good enough” or “desirable.” Think about people pleasing, competition, perfectionism, worry, cultivating beauty, pursuing fame, seeking popularity, protecting our pride, fighting for respect, trying to be unique, trying to fit in, being judgmental, being angry at being judged and I could go on and on…
One way or another we are constantly seeking to boost or soothe our ego. And I believe on main reason for this is that we want to feel worthy of being loved.
“If I make them happy then they will love me.”
“If I can be the best, then they will love me.”
“If I have the most likes, then I will feel good about myself.”
“Why don’t they love me?”
Let me put it this way, we are constantly striving to figure out the puzzle of how to make people love us. And we often get frustrated when they don’t. Why do you think it bothers people so much to be judged or disrespected?
But here is the faulty foundation. Let me explain it with one of the most famous Bible verses. Even if you don’t believe in God, I hope you’ll realize the point is still valid.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
God loved us while we were sinners. He loved us while we were unworthy. Real love is not a reactive feeling. Love is an act of will on the part of the giver, not based on the worth of the recipient.
This is pretty key, so I’m going reiterate my point. If love is given at the whim of the giver, you cannot make them do it.
One more time,
YOU CAN NOT MAKE PEOPLE LOVE YOU.
People can love others who do not deserve it.
People may not love others when they do deserve it.
If someone does not love you, that was a choice they made.
You can influence people. You can make them happy. You may be able to make them like you.
But love is an unconditional choice to care about another person’s well being, whether they deserve it or not.
Let me illustrate it with a very honest insight into one of my private moments. When my daughter was born and they put her in my arms, my immediate reaction was not exactly warm and fuzzy. My first thought was, “Who is this stranger? I have never seen her before and I am supposed to love her? I don’t know anything about her character or who she will become.”
But then I spoke to her, “I am your daddy. I will always love you and protect you no matter what.” And then the warm fuzzy feelings and the tears came.
I chose to love her. It had nothing to do with what she had done, and it will always be my choice no matter what she does.
So, this truth is both wonderfully freeing, and somewhat terrifying at the same time.
On one hand, you can stop striving so hard for other people’s approval. I mean, really…they are only humans. Why is their validation of you so crucial? If you only knew what skewed their perspectives, you wouldn’t worry so much. It is like looking into fun house mirrors trying to figure out what you truly look like.
But on the other hand, you have to accept that you are not in control of whether someone loves you, or continues to love you, and that truth is so scary that perhaps it explains why so many people are blind to this fact.
If you can accept it, the truth will set you free. Forgive the cliche, but it really fits.
And it not only frees you from such excessive striving, but it is also the key to love others better. If you do not have to worry about whether people deserve your love and respect, you can just choose to give it, making this world and, most definitely, your own life that much brighter.
You can’t make people love you. I encourage you to accept it and start living. Do not be afraid.