Love Is Not a Video Game

Good morning! I have some really good news: 

You cannot make anyone love you!

You cannot trick, glamour, coerce, or earn love from people. The secret word or magic sigil movement does not exist that will unlock the love inside people. There is nothing to read or study about another person in order to be someone they can love. And if anyone in your life acted like love was something you had to bow, scrape, research, or earn as a reward, they were using you. 

If this is already apparent to you, then I am thrilled that you are in a healthy place with loving relationships. It’s something to celebrate because many of us don’t learn this until later, if ever, in life. Up until two nights ago, I thought–no, that’s not right. There was no thought in it. Up until two nights ago, I believed without examination that it was my responsibility to be a person who could be loved. That to love and be loved, I was responsible for being loveable, finding the words that fit the lock, being magical, buying the love somehow with my words, thoughts, and actions.

I can only imagine how this looked to the people I love. Like trying to reimburse your friends for the birthday gifts they’ve given you? Like trying never to underwhelm or overwhelm others with your love and attention so as to avoid creating a debt? Like love and affection are levels in a video game requiring exquisite timing and perfect play in order to progress?

Love isn’t a video game. It isn’t perfect. It isn’t planned. There isn’t a series of correct steps. It isn’t an accounting either. The really good, top-shelf love isn’t concerned with a balanced ledger of debits and credits. Quid pro quo is not a relationship model.

Love is open to the unexpected, the messy, the imperfect. To wild gestures and quiet care. And I am thankful to everyone in my life who patiently, messily, imperfectly loved me until I figured this out.