December 9

LOVE MONTH: DAY 9: “Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes, and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision.” ― Erich Fromm

I read some of his work this morning to get me “psyched” for writing about this quote. His reference to promising to love someone “forever” is an antiquated notion, I believe. Seldom does that kind of commitment work out.

BUT, I do believe we can devote our love to service and commitment to life by showing up each day, even when we don’t want to. I cannot imagine NOT loving the people who have once been loved in my life. I never let go of that, but it did shift in how it was expressed.

And, I must always maintain that I could not experience love for others without loving Kelly first. It just is not possible.

Most of us know the feeling of love, not the experience of it. It is confused in our media with need, with want, with desire, with so many things that are not love. So, we believe that is what it is. Even if it isn’t marriage/partnership kind of love, we don’t know what that is.

We are taught by our families that love includes control, judgment, abuse, need, dependency, and all kinds of manipulation. There is so much crap that we have to unlearn to be able to love.

Letting go of those conditions and circumstantial controls in order to truly love ourselves is first. This takes a long time in recovery, in my experience. Then, and only then, can I accept and love others without shaming, without conditions, without needing anything from them, without control or manipulation, without any of those demands.

And the commitment to “stay forever” is not something we can promise. I believe we do all of this one day at a time, if we do it at all. That I can commit to, nothing more.

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Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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