• Benjamin Gear

Puppy Love

Sooooo, here we are entering another new year! I’m glad you all made it and I’m sending light and love to every last one of you going into 2019! Speaking of love, since that was half of One Requirement, One Request, I did want to talk about love for a bit: Conditional, Obligatory, and Conditioned. We’ll unpack these real quick and call it a day.

Love is most commonly offered for two reasons: Either we want to get it in return or because we feel we owe it.

Most love is Conditional: offering love if… This is the quantifying of worth. Whether it’s determining if our love is deserved or if we are deserving of love. To perceive ourselves as better than or not good enough for any other living thing is morally and well, pretty much entirely inaccurate. Love is being used as a meter indicating value, so the more value we place on a person or thing the more love we allocate to them/it. In that sense, love has become the sum of an accumulation of approvals rather than the standard by which all interaction is based. Sadly, conditional love is the standard...but it doesn’t have to be.

Obligatory Love (also conditional) is most often found within the family dynamic. “I have to love you because…” I remember as a kid, fighting with a sibling or cousin and the onsite adult making us both apologize saying, “Y’all are family, you gotta love each other!” So I’d say sorry because I was told to, I’d forgive, or at least act like it, because I was told to...but I wouldn’t always mean it. The power of love is hugely lessened when it’s a requirement under a condition. Love can’t be demanded, the value of love is solely in the purity(intent) of its offering. Love is a gift.

Lastly, Conditioned Love, the how we offer love when we do decide to give it. Because we all have an ego, the judgment of ourselves, that shapes how we offer love. We offer it based on what we believe will be approved by the recipient. By tailoring our love we taint the purity of the offering, in turn tainting the purity of the response we receive. Through the work of learning to love ourselves AS ourselves, we ensure the responses we get are authentic. (This does not guarantee everyone who is attracted to authentic showings of love will be good people; show/be love anyway.)

The way to learn to love yourself as yourself is to be yourself. Some (even many) won’t like it but quite frankly, fuck’em. What you lose in the conditional approval of some, you gain in authentic interaction and connection with all.

So why ‘Puppy Love’, because dogs offer the purest love. Why? Dogs don’t have an ego so they have no insecurities to stifle the love they give. They don’t know if they’re fat, smell, or drool so they don’t know (or care) if we’re fat, smell, broke, or insecure; dogs love regardless (unless trained otherwise). They can’t say sweet things or buy gifts to show their love, all they can offer is themselves. So every time a pooch is coming up to be rubbed, it’s not their wanting or needing love, they’re coming to give it. I have owned a dog for over 5 years and I’m just learning this.

What we can learn from them is the less we judge ourselves the less we will be able to judge others. The less we judge others, not only will we be able to extend love to more but the love we give will be that much more genuine. And as we said in One Requirement, One Request, the more we love, the fuller, richer, and overall better our life experience becomes. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions but what I plan to heighten my attention towards is loving the heck outta me, “flaws” and all, so I can be better equipped to offer y’all that good ‘ol Puppy Love.

Thanks for reading.

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