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Learning the Art of Loving Others

Deciphering the question of love: should the action be up to us or our loved ones?

Scenario A: ‘But I’ve gone the extra mile to make you happy!’

A girlfriend is ranting to her yoga classmate about how her boyfriend doesn’t know how to appreciate her. On Friday night, she had braved the afterwork jam to surprise him with a fancy dinner date. Clad in a velvet maroon dress, she looked stunning as she rang his door bell at 7pm. Everything was perfect until he said the apocalyptic sentence: “Sayang, let’s stay in and have food delivery instead.” Boom! The surprise is ruined, and once again she was left with a thought that she was a better lover than him who could never appreciate her efforts.

Scenario B: ‘But it’s good for you!’

“Ma, you’re gonna love the Galaxy Note II once you understand it,” said a frustrated daughter. She had gifted her mother the brand new gadget so they could communicate easily when she is away from home. The 60-year-old reluctantly tried the aforementioned mini tab, but frustratedly put it back in its box after 10 minutes. The fonts were too small for her, the icons were confusing…in short, she preferred her old phone which served her well to text and call the daughter. ‘I’ve spent so much money on her and she still is not happy,’ so the daughter thought bitterly.

The art of loving others

If the scenarios sound familiar to you, it’s because they happen more often than Mondays in our everyday relationships. For every on-top-of-the-world moment, there is a less pleasant experience of knowing our partners, parents and pals are less than psyched with our TLC attempts. That brings us to the big question: how should we love? Do we use our ways amidst our loved ones’ preferences or do we give in for the sake of their happiness?

Recently, I have been faced with a similar dilemma in relationships with my near and dear. Along the emotionally taxing process, I managed to picked up a lesson or two.

First and foremost, I began to understand that people change from time to time. While your mum may not have liked bulgogi a few years ago, the opposite could be said about her now thanks to KBS drama series. Rather than feeling ‘betrayed’ over the newfound fact, I found that it is a good idea to have an open mind and check on your loved ones’ preferences from time to time. It doesn’t mean that you are no longer their closest person, it only means that you really care about them.

The act of loving also involves letting go of your ego. After all, love is not selfish. In an occurence where I was made to opt between my favourite comfort food and my man’s to buy back when he is bed-ridden, I would learn a lesson to put my loved one’s needs before me. In the same spirit, we also need to listen more than we talk. More often than not, we assume others’ likes and turn sour when our assumptions are proven wrong.

However, those sacrifices that we make for our loved ones should never mean losing ourselves to in a relationship. It is our personal qualities, unique touches on things and personal opinions that make us the persona that our loved ones adore. Do show your parents, friends and partner what you are capable of in bettering their lives. Show the love, because you are the love itself.

Although I still struggle to master the art of loving others, I recently found the fine balance between giving in to others’ happiness and using our unique ways to love others. Of course, it goes without saying that different relationships in life have different points of balance. But upon that epiphany, I felt content – a state of mind that seconds to none.

What kind of lover are you?

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