Spending three hours in a Golden Nugget Pancake House prompted a 90 minute conversation about several topics of love and but most specifically, loving as a laboring process. This post is a result of drinking bottomless coffee and feeling some type of way about the way I have been conditioned to perceive love. This is part of an ongoing process of unlearning societal standards and expectations that suppress my imagination around love, loving, being in love, being loved.
“Loving someone or something essentially means or consists in, among other things, taking its interests as reasons for acting to serve those interests. Love is itself, for the lover, a source of reasons. It creates the reasons by which [his] acts of loving concern and devotion are inspired.” – Harry G. Frankfurt, The Reasons of Love
While respecting my space and boundaries, I want to stop thinking of loving as a labor-intensive process, the act of loving requiring too much. And in that, stop thinking and believing that I am not worth any amount of labor that may go into loving me as a whole being, or loving my growth and journey, or my choices of expression.
It feels nearly impossible to deny that loving requires work. Once the boundaries of relationships have been established, it takes work to maintain the boundaries and to remain flexible (because it should be an expectation for aspects of a relationship to shift and change). It can be and is often exhausting. It can be and is often exhilarating.
The relationship I have with myself is not one that will cease to exist. The relationship my partner(s) has with themselves should not be expected to meet its demise when we begin to love each other. There should not be an expectation of exchange of our relationships with our beings for our relationship as individuals creating a love together. I do not need to feel that I am giving myself up in order to become another’s beloved. I do not need to feel that I must meet a standard of ‘worthiness’ in order to become another’s beloved.
It is intimidating to feel content with another person, to love and wanted to be love by them, but it is more stressful and harmful to spend any time questioning anyone’s reason for loving us.
I do not wish to see being in love and having a loving relationship as a means to an end, because it is continuous. It needs to be sustained. It is a laborious process, but intensity makes it feel destructive or like a binding contract in which there are no real choices.
I want loving to be a process that serves as a reason for understanding an already-existing worth. I am not valuable because this person loves me. I am valuable, and that is why that person loves me.