Taken “as is”

People often express the sentiment of wanting to be loved just the way that they are, in spite of their faults.

This may sound good at first, but if I think about it too much it becomes nauseating. First of all, if you expect another human being to always display love for you and never experience frustration with your inadequacies, you will inevitably be let down. I hate to sound pessimistic, but this is too much to ask.

Beyond being completely elusive, this notion of unconditional love can be damaging. If our faults become totally acceptable, we’ll have no reason to try to improve ourselves, and settling into that kind of stagnant tolerance is dangerous. Your faults will magnify. Your good qualities will seem no more important than your bad, because you’ll be accepted either way. If you have children, they’ll model you and become smug little assholes. When our faults are accepted, we stop trying.

“In spite of my faults” has a built-in sense of resignation. We should hope for people to love all of our best qualities while we work on our faults. And frankly, we should hope for accountability from the people who love us. Don’t accept my faults; encourage me to be better.

Love the good things about yourself.
Be honest with yourself, but don’t beat yourself up.
Try to do better.

Love the good things about people.
Be honest with them; you don’t have to be confrontational.
Be encouraging, let them do the rest.


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