What is Love? Consider the tree. The tree provides shade, respite from the blazing heat of the sun to everyone one with no expectation of return. To this end, love is genuinely maturing when it loves with no strings attached and no expectation of personal benefit.
When we love others, do we have an expectation that we will be loved in return? Do we expect some emotional gratification when we manage to live up to others expectations of us or others live up to ours? Do we withhold ourselves, our love, in exchange for others meeting our expectations? Authentic love is that generous. It loves freely with no thought to itself, reserving nothing whether reciprocated or not.
This is not something that can be forced. Generous love is a letting go of the expectations of reciprocating love from others and a turning toward the source of love - God.
Along with letting go of our expectations is recognizing our habit of expectations of return, our habit of withholding love from those who don’t meet our expectations, and seeing it all as the veneer of love we lay over our selfishness. As we learn to recognize these habits, we can turn from them and love more freely.
Freely you have received. Freely give.
~ Matthew 10:8
(Inspired and adapted from: The Way of Love. Anthony DeMello, S.J. )