Monday, April 25, 2011

How To Love

How do you love someone?

Forget everything you have learned from gushy cards and quivering-chin poetry.

Love isn't curlicues and puffy hearts over the "i"s.    Love is seldom tidy, hardly ever delivered in a pretty package with a shimmering bow on top.

Love is Tuesday.  

It isn't rainbows, chirping birds and a fawn licking your palm.  Love is a mascara streaked face, a trembling hand, a grateful heart.

It cannot be manufactured from nothing and it cannot be faked.

How do you love someone?   

Dig deep.  Travel past cheerful hugs and happy occasions, veer off the path at the intersection of Happily Ever After and I'll Never Hurt You, and wander into the forest of Truth.

It's easy to love when waters are smooth, the sky is a brilliant blue and the wind is at your back.

Love isn't found inside little white lies designed to avoid stinging truth.   It doesn't cohabitate with pity or Thank-God-I'm-Not-Her.

Love is saying the hard stuff, not because you want to feel better about yourself, or be right, but out of pure, unadulterated compassion.  

Love is reaching out a hand and hanging on tight, not letting go when the waters get choppy or inconvenient.

Love is showing up for the tears, the failures, the pitfalls.   Love is delivering the truth without judgment or condemnation.

Love has no room for I-Told-You-So or How-Could-You-Do-This-To-Me.   Because it isn't about you.  It never was.

How do you love someone?

Love is staring awkwardness and conflict dead in the face and owning your part.  Because you always have a part.

Love doesn't allow fear and resentment to take root and blossom into weeds that choke out truth and light.

Love is knowing when to walk away, but more importantly love is knowing when to stay.  

The opposite of love isn't hate; it is indifference. 

Love is showing up and meaning it.

Love is listening. 

Love is humble. 

It isn't grand or flashy; it's quiet, steady and strong.

Love is I'm sorry.  Love is forgiveness. 

How do you love someone?  

Start with yourself.


  1. that'll preach. truth in each word.

  2. i read this twice. i needed this today - thank you.

  3. This is beautiful. Thank you.

  4. "Love is Tuesday."
    So very true. Love is looking at your spouse on the other end of the couch at 9:30 on a weeknight, exhausted from the day and the kids and the everything, but grinning at one another anyway.

  5. Just so, so gorgeous. Thank you, Ellie. I needed this today. xox

  6. Ellie, you are an amazing and inspiring woman. Thank you so much.

  7. This was difficult to read today. I can't say I agree with all of it. "Love has no room for how could you do this to me" - but what do you do when the one you love breaks your heart and how do you believe it's not about you when you are the one devastated. Then once you've moved past the sadness and anger and even hatred and wind up at indifferent is there any turning back. Getting to indifferent took a long time and was the result of not being able to take the hurt any more. And sometimes forgiving doesn't fix it and you don't know what you're left with.

  8. Anonymous -

    I can't reveal what prompted me to write this post today, but it stemmed from an experience that taught me a lot about love, and boundaries and truth.

    Sometimes indifference is actually a form of healing, of moving on, because to be angry at someone you still have to love them, too.

    Sometimes walking away is the most loving thing you can do for yourself. Forgiveness is for you, not for the other person, in my opinion. Because dragging hurt around - giving someone who has hurt you too much power - injures only you in the end.

    We can only love another person as much as we love ourself. And if your're pouring love into a person that can't - or won't - give that back to you, then you are pouring your self-love out, too.

    And sometimes the only way to love ourselves enough is to walk away.

    I'm sorry for your struggles, and for your pain.


  9. Thank you so much for this. I always think, "I wish I could love myself as much as my husband loves me." That's so unfair to him. He deserves so much better. Today has been rough, and I really needed this.

  10. Ellie, this is breathtaking! I needed this today. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

  11. Ellie, the truth shines through this post with beautiful clarity. Thank you so much for sharing this.