How to Love Selflessly

– By Nikki –

Love is important in all forms, but today I want to talk about friendship (or as C.S. Lewis calls it “philia”) and how to accomplish loving a person selflessly. For those of you who want to learn more about his views on that type of love specifically, here is a helpful link, and I would suggest reading his essays in The Four Loves.

For as long as I can remember friendship has always made my life more enjoyable. My childhood best friends still make my life great because when we see each other we reminisce about growing up together. When I think of my high school best friends I still enjoy their company on occasion and we always remember the pains of puberty. And my college friends are also still very meaningful to me. I can remember running with a friend of mine and then getting to class a second before it was about to start. I remember the parties and the pains of becoming an adult because I spent them with people that took care of me, and I thought that maybe I took care of them as well. My husband and I even started out as best friends. I told him everything, and honestly friendship is an essential ingredient in our love story.

However, I want to think about loving someone selflessly as opposed to loving someone selfishly. I’ll give you two scenarios where one of these ways to love are exercised.

Scenario 1:
Let’s say that I throw a dinner party and invite everyone over that I can. I cook them dinner and my family makes time to spend with this group that we want to get to know better. Throughout that party I am visibly stressed and putting every ounce of my self-worth into what they think. Once the party ends they leave me with a mess to clean up and I feel completely empty.

Now let’s flip this on its head.

Scenario 2:
Instead of worrying about what everyone thinks I genuinely see how people are doing. I enjoy them for who they are instead of what they think about my dinner, or if they noticed how clean my home was. Instead of worrying about the things that fade away I focus on their inner-self. I find things that we are both interested in and we enjoy each other’s company. When everyone leaves I feel socially fulfilled and connected instead of emptied out by shallow things.

Did you catch the difference in the two instances? Yes, it’s fine to enjoy cooking and getting your place nice to hang out at, but once I started putting my self-worth into it things started to crumble. How selfish of me would it be to demand recognition? Truthfully I have been guilty of feeling like this, and my advice would be to start wondering how you can serve others without that service becoming about yourself. Being selfless and showing love go hand-in-hand, otherwise the friendship would get messy and eventually burn out.

Stop worrying about what type of candles to light, or if your friends thinks that you look nice in your new dress. Instead be confident in who you are so you can be that loving selfless person.

So let’s talk! Are you good at loving selflessly, and if so, how do accomplish such a difficult thing. Or tell us about a situation where it was difficult for you to love in such a way. We’d love to strike up a conversation in the comments!

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