Here we go, yet another blog post on love. I know, I know. You’ve heard enough about love, but I’m gonna talk about it anyway because I can (I love you dear reader please don’t leave me).
I came across this tweet on International Women’s day a couple of days ago.
You can click through and see how Black men responded to the question. Some of the answers were quite beautiful but they got me thinking. Look at these answers for example:
- “Their ability to endure abuse while simultaneously supporting you like nothing’s wrong. Endurance and resiliency.”
- “They understand my anger, when others, including myself, do not.”
- ” Can’t no one other race embrace their man more. The natural bond of a black couple in deep love is unparalleled.”
- “Their strength. And how nurturing and supportive they can be.”
- “Their compassion for Black men, the way they stand beside us. The way they uplift Us.”
As much as these answers could be sincere, I am uncomfortable with expressions of love that are based on what one does for you. A love that is centered on how one makes YOU feel. I am also deeply uncomfortable with the idea that women enduring abuse is seen as love, but I’ll shelf that topic for another blog post. I did a quick google search with the phrase “I love you because” and this is what came up:
At first glance this may seem all cute and great (or mildly nauseating) but let me explain. Love can and does change you. And when you are aware of that change, its understandable to appreciate the person responsible for bringing it out of you. There is nothing wrong with that. But what about expressing love for someone simply because of what they are, independent of you? Their value as an individual goes beyond what they can do for you. Its almost a selfish expression of love, although it could be with good intentions. I’d rather be appreciated because someone loves my ambition, my originality, or my style. Even if I make the person I love happy, even if I inspire the person I love to be better, even if I love them in a way they have never been loved; it means more to me that they appreciate me for who I am and not just what I do for them. My individuality does not disappear because I I fell in love or because I got married. I am still the person they were attracted to in the first place, before I did anything for them, I am still that person. If they appreciated me for who I was when I met them, that should not change.
Now, look at these answers :
- “I love the spirit of the black woman, her determination, her grace, her heart, her courage, her honor”
- “They’re courageous, tenacious, kind, vibrant, soft, resourceful, spirited, & i love their heart, skin, hair, lips, & shapes”
- “Their strength, their aggressiveness, their curves, their beauty, the caramel & chocolate skin tones, everything…”
- “their intelligence, beauty, smile, potential, skin, the list goes on. but what’s not to love about them?”
I prefer these answers because they are focused on the characteristics that these men see in Black women. These answers are independent of black men meaning whether they have men in their lives or not, these women are still pretty awesome. They are appreciated as they are, existing as themselves. There is freedom in that; freedom in the idea that existing as I am is enough instead of the idea that I am valuable because I have a man to take care of. This goes against the idea that my value is seen through the way I take care of a man. And we need more of that message. Your value is not tied to whether you have someone to love or not. If you are in a relationship or married, you are still valuable because of who you are. Your value does not decrease because you were too tired to make dinner. Your value does not decrease because you took time out for yourself. Your worth does not decrease based on how another person values you.
I understand that these responses probably came from a good positive place, but I believe we need to unlearn these potentially harmful habits of love. Appreciate your loved ones for the individuals that they are , after all that is why you loved them in the first place.