I Love You

I am ashamed of my cruelty. In that precious moment, there is nothing more hurtful that the words “I know”.

I couldn’t believe that I had inflicted it on him. He was precious and sweet and kind and loving. And he was brave. He looked at me, completely serious in his apology. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I love you.  And all I could manage was “I know”.  What a bitch.

The first time was a soul mate. We had had 4 passionate months. We met in a crowded room, our eyes met across various conversations and a board game – he looked at me and I felt completely seen. I felt complete. In the backseat of the car, veritable strangers, every inch of me longed for his touch.

When I left the first time it was supposed to be forever. I drove all day to the other side of the country. The next morning I headed back to him, I didn’t tell him.  When I arrived there was a note on the door – ‘if my greatest desire has come true, welcome’.

4 months later I left again. The next day I called, told him “I love you”. He said “I know”.

Years later. He was a friend of a friend. They told him we were meeting at my place. I opened the door and saw his huge smile. He headed straight for my bookshelves and we talked literature. It was a done deal. A year later after yet another fight, tears streaming down my face, I said “I love you”. He replied “I know” and went into the other room to call ‘her.’

And now I was doing it to him. A different him. A him that I really wanted. A him that I loved more than anything or anyone I’d known. And that’s what scared me so much.

You might say trust issues. Yeah, that would make sense. Or just the feeling that I don’t want to try again, I’m doing okay by myself. So when he screwed up – yes, I know we all do – I assumed that was it, we were done.

But hear he was, not willing to give up. And here I was, being a bitch.

And of course being the opposite of what I truly wanted. Pushing away the truth of love. Letting fear take over.

Fear…here we go again.

Of being seen.

Of loving and losing

Of getting hurt

Of taking chances

Fear of really living.

In that moment, I realized the story I was telling myself. I had created all kinds excuses to ignore what I knew to be true, to protect myself.

And yet, I didn’t want to be protected any more.  I wanted to be loved.  And to love.

I’m so grateful that I caught the story before it caused real damage.

I turned to him

I’m so, so sorry.

At first he didn’t know what to say. You see he knew that it had hurt but he wasn’t sure why.

I’m so sorry that I said “I know”, it’s so cruel.

I went to him and hugged him.

I love you. I really love you.

I’ve come to see over the years that love is not conditional. It’s not mutual, it doesn’t need to be returned.

Love is a choice.

To love what is – because you choose to.

Not because it (or he/she) is perfect and loves you to.

Not because you have someone to share the mortgage with or to come home to at the end of the day.

Not because you are scared to be alone.

Not because he agrees with your politics and your beliefs

Not because she is beautiful.

Perhaps because there is no greater power.

Perhaps because life in love is so much better.

Perhaps because it is our natural state.

Imagine a world where there is no past, no future.

No trade, no negotiation

Just simply. Love.

Well, you’ve got it. That’s all there is.

Will you choose love?

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  1. What a great Story, Thank you so much!

  2. Thanks, Lisa. This is a wonderful perspective!

    Happy Valentine’s day!

  3. Eliane says:

    Thank you Lisa!!! Such an inspiring story. YES! YES! YES! I choose to love what is. I choose to be courageous and love just because I choose.
    And by the way…. I love you dear friend.

  4. Love chooses itself… Our choice is about something in between: how it makes us feel to be in love, and what is possible with another. To love can not be just to act, unaware, it always is about an interaction – even if only with ourselves, when we alone recognize and reward the expressions of love through us. But, by ourselves, we can only have so much enjoyment. We seem meant to attain happiness, fulfillment in the context of close relationships, where interactions of shared love can take place. And sharing requires an equal participation. The choice for love we make cannot ignore this fact. You, Lisa, bravely, chose to break out of that cycle of suffering for you and for your loved one, your relationship. You may have brought love in for both at that time, by not waiting for his acceptance, by closing the gap between you two, and over the past, with your hug. And I can assume only that the dreamy end of your story implies the relationship healed and grew. But in the cases where it is not so, the choice one alone makes to invest in the relationship – what the choice for love is, in that context, really – can not be enough. At least an equal dedication to express love is needed; and an intimate partnership is often about more. To all that goes on between us, love is a force behind the scenes of life, with a world of its own, like you described, Lisa, behind our world. A model, maybe, to inspire our growth. To choose love is, in this greater context, to choose to learn from love, to change for the better, the higher, as human beings, and, then, to have society, everywhere, adapt to a majority of these new people, to have, based on new standards of living, interactions more free from confusion, from insecurities and the constructions our minds cover them with. Without such changes, as now, to let love choose itself through us is a fate for lonely dreamers and, maybe, for very, very lucky dreamers who find each other.

  5. Ajit says:

    Thanks Lisa, once again for all your WISDOM, this time on ” I love you”!
    Things are different after going through all your emails and life is really changed…and yes its your choice as you rightly mentioned ! With all fruitful Efforts!

  6. Of the many years I taught seniors in high school, the only thing they remember that I taught them was the definition of love: to will the good of the other for the Skees of the other.

    • Correction to the spelling of previous comment (damn autocorrect): Love is to will the good of the other for the sake of the other.

      • Story Coach says:

        I love this Mark – thanks for sharing. best wishes, Lisa

  7. Ahmed says:

    Thanks for such a great story, Lisa! Indeed, true love is unconditional and immaterialistic. To be sure that you’re living genuine love, you need to go through pain and suffering. 👍

  8. michal says:

    Authentic, Lisa.
    Be well

  9. When you give away love you create a space for more to return. It is not important who or what returns it, It only matters that it creates a flow. Do not stop the flow for any arbitary reason! Stagnant love turns into possessiveness and stops the flow out of fear. Do not let fear dominate you. Have courage love is always present if you give it away it comes back to you.
    Honora Simon

  10. janet says:

    Truly lovely, thank you Lisa.
    Now my compassion is being tested as my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer last week. I have the urge to say “I told you so”, because of his lifestyle choices, but I’m learning to be supportive without giving advice. Yet another life lesson!

    • Story Coach says:

      So sorry to hear of your husbands diagnosis Janet – wishing you both health, strength and lots of compassion. Warmest wishes, Lisa

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