“You are what you love, not what loves you,” from the movie, Adaptation. When I first heard this, it gripped me for days. And I thought about it strangely and deeply in the last few days and I realized in some Eureka! sort of way, that love should be about the self. Not in the way you think. It’s not that love is ultimately about what you are getting or giving, but rather that love and the way we love and who we love says something about us. And not just something – it says a lot about who we are.
See, many of us think that if we can give love to someone, then by the essence of that gift, we are a better person for it. We’re not necessarily a worse person for it either but if it is human to love, then doing what is the most natural thing to us, doesn’t make us better (or worse). We also think that by virtue of loving someone, that we are owed love in return. We don’t like to think we hold this truth but subconsciously, many, if not all of us do. We’re taught it somehow from birth, and it’s why we break our own hearts so often throughout our lives.
Love is a confession of character. I go back to that Adaptation quote – “You are what you love, not what loves you.” If you thought about it carefully, you would do a little dance right at this very moment, and be eternally grateful. Because that means that you can love people who are extraordinary and wonderfully sad. You can love people who are kind and generous and intelligent and conversational and weird and happy and funny and fun and adventurous and complicated, in the most iridescent, life-altering way possible.
You can love people who are terrifying and strange and beautiful. (Thank you Warsan.) You don’t have to love people who are angry and jealous and cynical and hateful; people who give you more pain in a life filled with so much of it already. Because your love is a confession of your character, let the people who you love tell the world who you are. And even if and when those people cannot return that love in the same way, let it speak of the beauty and the resilience of your soul. And last but most certainly not least, let your love be the most spectacular thing about your life.
from Some Thoughts On How To Love Better by Kovie Biakolo