The Things We Do For Love?
I have been thinking lately about the small but important distinction between what we say we do out of love but what we really do in exchange for love.
The things we truly do out of love are gifts freely given without condition, without notation in the ledger of our heart. There is no debt owed, no notion that the value of the loving act is dependent upon how it is received, recognized or reciprocated.
But those things we do in exchange for love we carefully inventory. These transactions are acts of love tied to the expectation of getting something in return (often unconsciously). When such acts of love are unappreciated, unrecognized or not returned in kind, we consult our detailed invoice of what is owed to us and mentally itemize the bill.
I believe many of us claim the former, when we really own the latter. How often have we said, ‘I didn’t even get a thank you,’ or ‘I did so much for them and got nothing in return.’
If what we gave was truly given out of love, there is no debit tied to its memory, nor does the behavior of the receiver diminish the sweetness or sincerity of any true act of loving kindness.
So what happens when we realize what we thought we were giving out of love, we were really giving in exchange for love? What can we do when we feel resentment or bitterness welling up over something we’ve given in exchange for less than what we expected?
Well, that’s the amazing thing about gifts of love–we can retroactively transform those past transactions into gifts by simply forgiving any perceived debt! We can just burn the invoice, tear up the bill, erase it from the ledger in our heart. The alchemy of this transformation is pure magic, and you and I, we are all magicians at heart.