How Do I Love Thee?

A single red tulip among white tulips

Perhaps love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself. Not whom I want you to be, but to who you are.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

In this world of more than 6 billions people, we cannot find two persons who are exactly the same; each of us is special and unique in our own way whether in appearance or in personality. We may be able to find people who look alike in appearance or behave similarly in personality but they are in reality still two different persons. The closest in appearance we can get is in twin, triplets etc, and yet twin still display different personality; one can be introvert and the other extrovert. Yes, what I am trying to say is that you and I, we are all unique individuals.

If we accept the fact that each of us is unique and special in our own way, then why do some of us attempt to change our loved ones?

When we first fall in love with a person, we were attracted by some lovable traits of the other person. We felt a strong connection with the other person and almost as one with.

And yet over time some of us will start to detest these lovable traits which attracted us in the first place. That is when some of us will start to question and compare the person with another; why can’t he/she be more considerate like this person or why can’t he/she be more romantic like that person? Some of us will start to expect more from the person; why can’t he/she pays more attention to me?

Have we changed? Or has the person changed? Perhaps the person really does change over time. However, most probably the person each of us love is still the same person; we are just trying to change them to who we want them to be.

The Kay Way mentioned in her article You Can’t Change Men – Young Women Listen Up, “…before you decide to marry the man you want to change, take stock and find out if he is really the right one for you to avoid great heartache in the future for you both.” Although she wrote that article about women, I think even men make the mistake of trying to change the women they are in love with over time.

Thus instead of trying to change the other person, perhaps we need to think if we can really accept the person the way he/she is; we must not have the delusion that we will be able to change the person we are in love with.

Do we then just accept each person we loved unconditionally? Not exactly; If the person is abusive or toxic, it doesn’t make sense to accept the person just the way he/she is.

When we love, we always strive to become better than we are.” – Paulo Coelho. I believe that when we truly love another, we will be inspired to change ourselves to be a better person.

When I was in my junior college, I was in love with a school mate. I was also a bad tempered guy who was easily agitated. Then one day, while I was helping out in my Aunt’s food stall, it suddenly dawned upon me that being a person I was then, I wouldn’t be worthy of her love. From then on, I changed drastically and controlled my temper; I had become a better person. She did nothing to try to change me. I was inspired to change.

When we truly love another, we accept the person the way he/she is and we do not try to change the person. The change will come naturally.

Do you have any experience where you were inspired to be a better person because of love?

Photo by Egilshay

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30 thoughts on “How Do I Love Thee?

  1. Jannie Funster

    Yep! I totally agree on acceptance!

    I have learned not to judge my husband when he does not do the things I wish he would. He is a wonderful man and does things in his own way, in his own time.

    When we act from love we can never go wrong, and I try to make it my mission.
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Gratitude =-.

  2. Pam

    This is always good advice. It is easy to go into a relationship trying to change someone. IT is never easy to love them without trying to change them. However, it is really the only way to have a lasting relationship.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Jannie, I couldn’t have said it better than you, “when we act from love we can never go wrong…”

      @ Meleah, indeed, the question remains, “Do we love the person enough, if we try to change him/her?” And the answer is pretty obvious – most probably we do not love the person enough.

      @ Pam, yes, I agree that one of the ways of a lasting relationship is not to go into one and trying to change the person.

  3. Ben

    “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are.” Amen to that. That’s one of the reasons why I absolutely love being in love. It gives me the resolve and courage to become a better man. I agree with your conclusions. Change will come naturally. If it doesn’t, then love was never really there. Great blog post!
    .-= Ben´s last blog ..Cambodia Motorcycle Diary #3 =-.

  4. One of The Guys

    No one is perfect. I’m certainly not. My wife isn’t either. But that’s not why we love is it? In fact it’s hard to even know how it all works.

    Sure my wife can drive me nuts. And I do the same to her too. Some of these behaviors we exhibit can be changed and maybe should be changed. But our core qualities are ones that should be allowed to evolve over time. Change should come from the person deciding he/she needs to change, not from pressure from someone else. In the end that just leads to resentment.
    .-= One of The Guys´s last blog ..The Bowels of Humiliation =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Ben, I agree with you that being in love give us the resolution and courage to become a better person.

      @ One of The Guy, indeed, we find the perfection in the imperfection. I agree with you that there will be resentment if change comes from the pressure of another.

  5. nothingprofound

    Great article with wonderful points. I think people are disillusioned in relationships because the real person they end up with is not the one they imagined. They imagined a savior or magician who would fill all the gaps in their life. Relationships don’t really work until each partner realizes they have to fill the gaps themselves.
    .-= nothingprofound´s last blog .. =-.

  6. Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord

    Really thought provoking post; thank you. My experience has been that love isn’t love unless it’s unconditional. In other words, many times when we say we love someone else, and then subsequently try to change them, we’re not truly loving them. We’re placing conditions on our affection, and those conditions – I believe – come from fearful and unhealed parts of ourselves. So many people who claim to be in-love are simply “in-want” or “in-lust” or “in-fearful-attachment-mode.”

    What’s more, any time I find myself agitated by something that someone else does, I recognize that they’re just holding a mirror up to me so I can see what I still need to fix within myself. It’s never about the other person. It’s always about us.

    And I think the advice you’ve pointed out – that we can never change another person – is spot on. It is everyone’s individual job to change themselves when and if they want to.

    Easy to profess; much more difficult to live by.
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last blog ..5 Amazing Ways to Bring the Joy Back to Your Job =-.

  7. Fatima Da

    Very interesting and so true we are all unique individual. I often wonder why we try and change others say our loves ones it doesn’t really work most of the times anyway.. My hubby loves his football I knew this before we got married but over time I couldnt bear it . But then with time I learnt to respect his space and passion His lovely man….
    .-= Fatima Da´s last blog ..Two People,Yes, Two Lasting Friends =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Nothing Profound, I couldn’t agree with you more. Some people have unrealistic expectations. And they mix up reality and ideal. We do have to know that there is no perfect being in the world. Each one is on his/her own journey to be a better person and how fast the person moves towards the direction of a better person also differs from person to person; depending on how determine the person is.

      @ Megan, indeed, true and unconditional love comes from unconditional acceptance of another; True love doesn’t place conditions on a person. It is individual’s needs and wants that put some into what they seemingly call love.

      I remember a saying that goes something like this, “When we dislike something about another, it is probably something that is reflected also in our action; it is not about the other person but what we dislike about ourselves.” Thus I agree with you that what we don’t like to see in others, we need to fix it within ourselves. Thank you for your wonderful inputs.

      @ Fatima, I agree with you. We need to learn to respect another’s space and passion, as long as it is nothing toxic or harmful.

  8. Belinda Munoz

    An important reminder for us all. You’re right, we can’t change others. Heck, we can barely change ourselves, right? You ask a great question and my answer is yes. My son who recently turned 3. he inspires me to be a better person.

  9. Tracy

    “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are.” …Paulo Coelho says is to well… and so do you, BK! I don’t have any one experience to share, mostly that I feel a great sense of love all the time, each day, and this helps me strive to be better–be it the romantic love I share with my husband, the love of and for family & friends… love just inspires me all the time! :o)

  10. Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice

    My experience was the opposite in that I chose improve myself because I wasn’t getting love.

    I was always made to be the friend, or the person that the woman saw as a brother, I can’t tell you how frustrating that was. So I changed to become a more attractive man, only the things which I knew for certain were me being a weak man I changed and the other bits I edited to make more playful. So in a similar way I see it as a similar thing.
    .-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..The Best Kind Of Product Is One You Don’t Need To Sell =-.

  11. Tina t

    I agree so much about not trying to change people. Most of us change as we grow in a relationship, and it should happen naturally if it is meant to happen, not by being forced to change. Everyone wants to be loved for themselves, and it’s important to feel that you will be loved whether you change or don’t change.
    .-= Tina t´s last blog ..Love and Valentine’s Day =-.

  12. Tabitha Blue

    This is a great post. My husband definitely inspires me to be a better person, and I so appreciate that he loves me just the way I am. Perhaps that is the reason that I always want to be better. I think he feels the same way, we walk in mutual admiration of each other… and that helps us be the best we can be for each other. 🙂
    .-= Tabitha Blue´s last blog ..T-Minus Three Days And Late At The Same Time =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Tracy, “Love just inspires me all the time!” That is very much more than enough to inspire me to be a better person.

      @ Amit, we seem to share something similar – that we were always made to be the friend, or the person that the woman saw as a brother or friend. I do agree that it can be frustrating at time. Then again, I believe the time and person are not right. We just need to be lovable and to be a good person and the rest will be taken care of.

      @ Tina, indeed change should come natural when we feel there is a need for us to change. Love should be unconditional.

      @ Tabitha Blue, thank you for the inspiration. I do hope that more people can experience similar mutual admiration like you and your husband do. 🙂

  13. Amanda

    Wise words my dear and glad you shared a link to the article You Can’t Change Men – Young Women Listen Up,”. I am sorry I have not been around I have had to put my mom in hospice and have not had the chance to be here, but I appreciate your visits and bloggy friendship!

  14. jacqueline

    Dearest BK, i totally agree with you on this that acceptance is really important in a relationship. I guess i was lucky enough to be brought up in a way that i have learn to accept others as who they are and not to make any judgement when it comes to their personality. It is really important for me that my friends and partner accept me for who i am and me accepting them for who they are. This is really a great post and such a wonderful reminder to all of us.

    I’ve been so busy lately that i hardly the time to visit you here on your gorgeous inspiring space. Missed you while i was away. Have a lovely merry happy weekend and a wonderful chinese new year! Oh and a very happy merry velentine’s day too! Love to you!
    .-= jacqueline´s last blog ..Hello fryday =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Maria, thank you for sharing; I’m sure all the people who you love have helped you to become a better person. That is how when we have loved, we will be inspired to change naturally to be a better person.

      @ Jacqueline, good to see you here. Judging others is certainly the last thing we would want to do right? Who are we to judge others in the first place anyway. 🙂

      I am glad that you grew up in an loving environment which you have learnt to accept others as who they are and that have certainly made you a wonderful lady as you are today. Hope you have a lovely merry happy weekend and wonderful Chinese New Year too. And of course a very happy merry Valentine’s Day to you also. Lots of love to you.

  15. Eren Mckay

    I’m all for acceptance. But when the person constantly has wrong attitudes that are very harmful and unloving; well, those definitely need to be challenged. No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who ultimately is selfish.
    It’s all about truly caring and loving the other person.
    Unfortunately many guys and ladies also make excuses for themselves- “Uuhh… that’s just the way I am.”
    Yeah but if it’s harmful you need to change! Not sit back and be passive and wallow in mistakes.
    Anyways I agree with the acceptance part to a certain point.
    .-= Eren Mckay´s last blog ..How to deal with grief and loss =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Eren, I agree with you that if the person has wrong attitudes that are very harmful and unloving then it would not make sense to stick to the relationship; especially when the person doesn’t want to be a better person. And that is where I mentioned, “If the person is abusive or toxic, it doesn’t make sense to accept the person just the way he/she is.” In such case, we have to learn to let go and move on. This is where the challenge is for most people.

  16. Cathy Voisard

    Can’t say I’ve been inspired to change for the better, but I have tried to inspire others. I don’t think you can change someone, but you can clearly ask what you want and negotiate. I think that’s the most mature way to create a sense of “change!” Thanks for the post.
    .-= Cathy Voisard´s last blog ..A Valentine to Remember =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Cathy, that is how it usually happens, we inspire others to change; change must come from themselves. I agree with you that we may also create the sense of “change” through the mature way of communicating to each other with regards to individual needs and wants.