How Much Do I Love Others?


So I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately, specifically my relationships with those around me.
I consider myself an extrovert who enjoys being social and interacting with others, but lately I’ve been examining the depth of my relationship with others.
How much do I love others?
It’s easy to say I love others, but deep down, if I’m honest with myself, do I really?
I’ve tried to be more aware of my conversations with people. I’ve listened more – talked less. I’m trying to soak in what’s going on around me and I’ve discovered that this is hard to do while talking.
I think I’m like most people in that when I’m in a conversation with others, I’m often too busy thinking about what I’m going to say that I’m not really listening to what they’re saying.
I guess my question is: If I don’t hear what they say, and only want to get out my stories and ideas, do I really care about them?
I’ve also found that when I listen to others, I mean, really listen to them, it’s difficult. Maybe it’s because most of what is discussed among people these days seems to be surface crap information. You know, the kinds of things you read on someone’s Facebook status or Tweets. This seems to have bled into real life conversations.
Humans have always tried to gloss over the deeper parts of themselves, because this part includes the scared, worried, ashamed, and anxious aspects of life.
But glossing over something or pretending it’s not there doesn’t make it go away.
The social mediums in the world today have allowed for more connections with others, but have they allowed deeper connections? Have they allowed you to be real?
Honestly though, social exchanges have always hovered around the surface. For years this has been a common exchange – “Hey, how’s it going?” To which you’d respond, “Fine, you?” If you’re honest, is it really fine? And the times when you do stop and share something more deeply, often the other person is looking for an exit because they really didn’t want to know.
Which leads me back to the question: Do they really care? Do you? Do I?
The deeper connections require more from me. It requires that I slow down and share my life with others. That I shoulder some of their weight and burden with them. But it also offers the possibility that they’ll shoulder some of mine.
Real relationships move past the “niceities”. They get below the surface and enter the area of our lives that house fears, frustrations, failures, but also strengths. You see, I believe it’s this part of our lives, the authentic part of us, where healing resides. This healing actually begins when I share this part of my life with another person.
If I were to slow down my life and listen, I must come face to face with this part of myself. There are times when I feel isolated and alone. When I’m insecure about what I’m doing or who I am. And these times also bring me to how I began this post – how much do I love others?
I’m wading deeper into this struggle – care to join me?
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Photo courtesy jamsjoys