Love is not selfish. Often in marriages we forget that doing things for others in what is their best interest is a sign of love. We do things for others in what is beneficial for us. The same applies in co-parenting after divorce. We do things for our ex-husbands and ex-wives in what will be for our best interest long-term and we disguise it as beneficial for the children.
I know this because I have done this. I admit it and rationalize it as “I’ve earned it! I deserve it! And he messed up!” Oh, but the feeling leaves you empty, deceitful, and manipulative. This is not love–well, maybe love for me, but not a respectable me.
Co-parenting deserves the same kind of love as marriage–a love that is not selfish. I know I should not be deceitful and manipulative, but rather be humble and grateful. To have a partner with whom I share the responsibility of raising two wonderful boys is a blessing. Many single moms don’t have another partner, parents or a support network and I have a feeling they would feel blessed to share the responsibility with someone else.
Whether my ex agrees with me or not, I should not care. I know that I have a responsibility to do what is best, best for our children. I know that I have a heart filled with compassion and sincerity. Sometimes in all the chaos of living life and getting divorced, it is a welcomed thought to be reminded that love is not selfish.
Eve, Love is not selfish. How easy to speak these words, yet how difficult to practice and apply to someone who’s not at the top of your list and has wounded you deeply. You seem to be very aware and open to admit your shortcomings. It probably doesn’t feel so good to really look at yourself and find yourself not living according to your values.
So if love is not selfish, what causes one to be selfish? Is there a wound that needs to be protected because it has not healed? Are you aware of this wound? Can you name it or describe it? Who caused it? If the answer is yes, then could it be that one acts selfish because they have not been generous in loving themselves to care for this wound? Would you call it selfish to care for your wound? To be loving towards yourself, could it require you to say “no” to others which may look selfish at first because they may not be used to this?
Your outward actions only reflect your actions towards a certain part of yourself. Generous love has to be planted with seeds of attention, kindness and thoughtfulness inside you. Within your interior soul, the depths of heart, is where the generosity of love is conceived and brought forth in the world around you. So what is happening in the dark and core of your being will be magnified in the light and interactions with others. Loving is caring for oneself. Here is an exercise that may help to consciously and intentionally love generously.
Eve, Love is not selfish because God’s love is within you and all around. Continue to tap into this love and know that with God’s grace he will fill you up and heal you based upon his holy will. Go out and be generous with what God has and is giving you. He gives his love to you, multiplies it within you so you can bless the world around you.