Love. What does that word mean to you? Close your eyes and imagine what love looks like, sounds like and feels like. What are you feeling right now? Whatever it is, I can tell you it isn’t love.
How do I know this? Because you’ve been lied to about the nature of love. Those feelings you just had while you were imagining ‘love’ are just that – feelings. They are not love itself. They are byproducts that occur at times when we are receiving happy emotions. Feelings are fickle – feelings change. If your love for someone is based upon how you feel, it is my contention that you do not really love them - you are a slave to your feelings.
Our modern culture preaches this lie constantly. "Love is a feeling and you must dance to it's music." Warriors know that this is nonsense. Having interviewed over 100 professional protectors in my life, the ones who have served in real combat and faced real death for a comrade do not have love based on feelings. Because if you are staring down death you will not FEEL like fighting or dying for someone else. Your feelings are fickle and in that moment they will want to protect YOU from dying, not those of your comrades.
Yet some protectors put themselves at risk for others. Why? How? One reason I contend is that it is because their idea of love is not based or rooted in how they feel. How they feel is a byproduct of their free will choice to love.
St. Augustine once said that love is a “fierceness without bitterness”. Ponder the meaning of this for there is much wisdom to be gained from it. A fierceness without bitterness. Ferocity implies a highly active nature – love is not passive. Feelings based love is passive – it removes you from being in control of yourself. This is the most insidious part of feelings based love.
It is rarely spoken anymore that you should control your emotions, feelings, and passions. It is even more rarely spoken that some of your feelings that you have are illicit and wrong. The new age man tells you that all your feelings are good and maybe even divine but this is a major lie that if believed will cause you untold unhappiness and unrest.
True love, the love a protector has for his comrades, the love a mother has for her child, wills the good of the other regardless of how you are feeling at the time. Love also wills the good of the other for their own sake – it is altruistic. This is why your father might have rebuked your bad behavior or your mother may have scolded you for disobedience – because they cared for you as you, not for what pleasure you could bring them.
C.S. Lewis wrote of, The 4 Loves. A brilliant work I recommend to your attention. The type of love that is true love, as Lewis describes it, which goes beyond mere romantic attraction, is agape or charity - the God love. It is love that is unchanging due to circumstances. I firmly believe that this type of love has been largely erased from our culture and replaced with passions, impulses, and self-gratification. True love is ultimately grounded in truth despite what the current culture may say. True love is not selfish and self-seeking.
This leads me to my final point in today’s blog; many people today, especially in the Western world, have swallowed the lie (either consciously or subconsciously) that love is about what someone else can do for you – and worse still, that love is about how someone else makes you feel. The truth is, they cannot make you “feel” any particular way, for the control of how you feel lies within your dominion. But if you believe love is a feeling, it absolves you of any responsibility for your emotions & feelings. That is the lie. You are always in control. You may not always choose to exercise that control, but it lies within your power to do so.
True love is the love that holds protectors and their teams together. When you know that the man on your left or right would die for you for your own sake, then you have trust. Now you can accomplish great things. How does this relate to you? Have you fostered relationships in your personal life that are based on love the feeling or love the free assent of your will? Do the people around you love you and you love them based on a mutual consent of both parties willing the good of the other, ever seeking to better, serve and support one another? Or do the people you have surrounded yourself with only seek to take from you? Do they only “love” you based on the feelings they get from being with you?
It’s never too late to build new relationships on a solid foundation or to cast off bad relationships. Begin assessing your own life today, right now. Begin with yourself – what is your vision of love? What do you believe love to be? Does your vision need upgraded and updated? Have you swallowed any lies that the mainstream fed to you? Only you can answer these questions.
Protectors have known what true love is ever since there have been protectors. It is up to you whether or not you wish to claim their age old wisdom for your own life.
Live with virtue my fellow warrior,
Welcome to the Anatomy of a Warrior Blog!
National Speaker, author, blogger, and life-long student of warrior arts and science.