True Love = Presence + Attention – Judgment

True love = Presence + Attention - Judgment

According to dictionary.com, love is defined as:
1.a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2.a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.

But this definition falls short when we are talking about “true love”. True love, a love that is experienced by the person we love is an equation;

True Love = Presence + Attention – Judgment

Let’s break this down;

Presence – Means being with the one you love, physically.  If a father tells a child he loves them but is never home, that child will not experience being loved from their father.  If a spouse tells their spouse they love them, but rarely spends anytime with them because they are busy with work and their personal friends, their spouse may not feel loved.

If we really love another person, we will try to spend as much time with them as we can.  However, presence without attention is the same as not being present.

Attention – Means when we are with the person we love, they have our attention.  Not the TV, computer, newspaper, phone or other thoughts.  This is often the hard part for busy spouses and parents, especially people who have a stressful job. ( which is most of us)

All of us know when we are with someone and they are mentally somewhere else.  Sure they are physically present but that without attention is the same or worse than simply not being there at all.

So let’s say you are physically present and attentive, is that true love?  Not quite if it is packaged with the third item in our equation, Judgment.

Judgment – This is the act of determining right and wrong, good and bad or things like that.  If when I’m with you and paying attention my primary response is to pass judgment or correct you, you may not feel loved or you may not want to be on the receiving end of this love.

In most cases the judger does love the person they are with and for many judgers, it’s in their nature to constantly judge or evaluate the situation, actions or responses of another.  This relationship busting behavior is not conducted out of malice but out of ignorance as the judging person often isn’t aware of the negative impact this behavior is having on their relationships and loved ones.

People on the receiving end of this type of love tend to mentally disconnect from the judger and/or eventually leave them.  If this is a parent/child relationship, the child may turn to drugs, alcohol or other means of mitigating the negative affects of their parents actions and behaviors.

If this is a relationship between spouses, this behavior on the part of one spouse or the other will lead to a serious disconnect in the relationship and if the receiving spouse is assertive enough, many arguments and fights.  If the receiving spouse is more passive, the relationship will eventually end in separation.

If the couple gets to counseling and the counselor is any good, this judging pattern of behavior can be surfaced and managed, especially if the judger really does love their spouse.

If you are in a relationship and just realized that you have been spending an inordinate amount of time judging your loved ones, my advice is be aware of your actions/behavior and give it a rest or you may soon find yourself alone and wondering what happened.

The fact is we demonstrate true love be being present, paying attention to our loved ones and accepting them unconditionally as they are.  If your not willing to accept your loved one as they are, you’re not really in love!

With regards to parenting, this manifests itself in loving the child as they are, personality, inborn strengths and weaknesses but obviously coaching/encouraging  them through their difficulties, mistakes and poor judgment.  Just make sure to balance your coaching/teaching/judging with as much or more encouragement, approval and praise.  Remember, they are stuck with you until they turn 18 and the quality of your relationship with them as an adult will be determined by the extent to which they felt truly loved by you as a child.  Don’t screw it up!!