Quick post on “Tough Love”

What is “Tough Love”?

I found one definition online that nearly summed up all other examples I found. “promotion of a person’s welfare, especially that of an addict, child, or criminal, by enforcing certain constraints on them, or requiring them to take responsibility for their actions”.

Love as a word has been overused and has lost a lot of its weight. Simply put, to love something, in the past was to give over an unconditional devotion to it. It was never a term that was meant to be used lightly. In today’s vernacular we love everything “I love the color green” as an example. Language changes and words, over time have their meanings changed based on the current social construct.

To “Tough Love” there really isn’t such a thing, if you love someone you will do whatever you have to do to make sure they are okay. There isn’t anything tough about it, it’s an absolute that if you can do it, you will do it, because you love that person. That is the traditional application of the word love anyway.

Is it truly heartfelt?

The next time you or someone you know has to make a hard decision, like removing an alcoholic from a home, throwing away a hoarder’s hoard, or disconnecting a porn addict from the internet it’s just love. If you didn’t care you wouldn’t bother and to suggest it is “tough” should only be in the context of the situation that occurs once you facilitated this act of love.

Don’t be fooled or brow beaten into this false narrative that forcing hard decisions on those you love is somehow a negative. It’s actually just the opposite, the person who loves you the most will force you to change if you are self-destructing. Honor them when you can, and never ascribe it to “tough love” it is just love, period.

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I Had No Time To Hate, Because

I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love, but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.

Emily Dickinson

This is a great poem and it helps us reconcile a couple of very important points in life. The first is time. What are you spending your time on? Are you spending your time hating someone or something that’s happened in the past? Dickinson tells us that “life was not so ample I could finish enmity” which to me translates into stop wasting time on negativity.

She also gives a very good glimpse into the issue of love. Love is more than passion, its more than lust. It is for lack of a better term, a time sink. The people you love are the ones whom which you go the extra mile, do the things that make you uncomfortable, they are worth it.

She’s telling us that she has no time for it, but its essential, as “some industry must be”. Investing your time into those you love is a “little toil”. Its worth it, as the dividends you get in the long run are going to be key to your survival as a person. Having someone in this world who actually gives a shit about you is sometimes the catalyst for being able to carry on. I know somedays it is for me.