There is a line in a song that gets me every time I hear it. It says: “I am thankful that you love me despite knowing me.” I think this line captures something immensely important.
I have to confess, it is a confusing line. Why should I thank someone for loving me? And shouldn’t we love each other because we know us not despite knowing us? At least that’s what we commonly do, right? But then again, the kind of love we commonly pursue commonly fails. I believe this is partly because our society tends to view love as an emotion. No doubt there are lots of emotions involved, especially during the period we call “falling in love”. But love is more than emotions. We tend to equate it with perfection, we place the other on a pedestal, are happy to smooth out all the irregularities, all the little and not so little imperfections and leave nothing but a whitewashed, photoshopped Mr. or Ms. perfect. This idealized way of seeing the other is something wonderful, thats for sure. But its an illusion and a terribly bad foundation for love (the stuff that stays when emotions disappear). If love is all about finding the perfect someone and feeling the perfect something then it is all about getting something, receiving someone. But what if love is the other way round? About giving and investing. I think love means to see the other person as he/she is, with all mistakes, troubles, imperfections and craziness. It’s the realization that the other is not perfect, not the solution to all our problems and more often than not a whole lot of trouble. Love is realizing all of this and making a decision, a decision to love, to invest and to give anyways. Not because the other is worthy of it but even though they are not. Isn’t that something to be thankful for?
You don’t love because: you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults.” W. Faulkner