True love begins when nothing is looked for in return ~ Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Lovely sentiment, but is it true?  Can a person really give love to another without any expectations?  Alternatively, if one has expectations or needs, does it mean his or her love is insincere?

During my earliest experiences with romantic love, I was a generous, giving person…and uncharacteristically bold in my declarations.  I went out of my way to be thoughtful, to make the object of my affection feel special.  At the time, I didn’t require reciprocation (a fact lamented by my parents and friends).  In fact, I rarely received much back at all (ah, unrequited love)! 8676906_s

Yet, I stayed my course.  It made me feel good to make ‘him’ feel good.  I believed my form of love was pure and true.  But, within a few years, the “giving without receiving” grew old pretty quickly.  The term “doormat” springs to mind when I reflect upon those days.  By my mid-twenties, I began to demand something in exchange for my time and attention.  I learned to balance self-love with love for another, and in doing so I think I became a happier person and better partner/lover.

Now I’m a parent who hopes to pass on a certain amount of wisdom about life to my children.  Love is never an easy subject because it is so personal, so subjective, and so often painful.  Still, it’s probably the most important, fundamental element of all interaction.  As such, it cannot be ignored.

So, the question is, do I agree with the quote?  Not really.  Naturally a person should not be calculating and manipulative in order to win or sustain love.  That would be putting self-love above the welfare of one’s beloved.  In my opinion, however, true love requires a balance between the two types of love.

Give generously of yourself, but do expect to reap what you sow.  If you give everything away without any expectation in return, you will likely end up empty.  True love should never leave one empty.

Do you agree or disagree?

xo-Jamie

photo credit: aspenrock (123rf image id 8676906)