Certainly, you've heard this statement before. The words have shifted or morphed into their cousins at times, but this family of phrases have remained the same. In fact, I would bargain that this idea has dug its head into your mind and won't leave without serious and well-thought persuasion. Time will tell.
"If you love someone, you'll love them for who they are."
"Of course." That's what you said, isn't it? I said it, too. Because we all believe it (and by we all, I mean everyone in America). What does this really mean? Read it again.
Go ahead. Read it again.
Since this idea is totally spliced into our consciousness, I can probably assume that you have expectations what this looks like. That's not uncommon. For what it's worth, quite a few people seem to know what love is before they experience it. Don't make me use ancient Greek words to explain what I'm talking about, nit-picker, because you know exactly what I'm talking about. If we know what love is right now, and it happens later, then all we have is an expectation of what love should be. That's dangerous.
Although we claim to know what fire feels like from watching, learning, and observing-- the sensation of actually burning is quite inexplicable.
Why is it dangerous? Because our expectations come in images, and not reality. Images are easy to deal with. They act and react the way we really want them to-- sort of the way I imagined the beautiful snow before I first experienced it with my freezing, remorseful hands. How can we treat reality with any kind of fairness if we have such expectations? Was it the snow's fault for assaulting my hand when I never imagined it would?
Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Most of the time, I hear this rant on how we don't love ourselves enough to love others as much. I encourage you to engage this thought and not blindly accept it-- if we still love ourselves, despite having a front-row seat to our disappointments and shortcomings, is that the same treatment we give others? Or is it totally different?
Read the statement again. Look at the agency here. It's a cry from the beloved to the lover. "I am only whatever I am! Nothing more!"
Is loving someone for who they are seeing their shortcomings in light of my expectations and making the choice to love them anyway?
Is loving someone for who they are being forgetful of our past expectations for who I believe they should be?