Love is a One Way Street

Hate is not the opposite of love. Love is giving – giving through sacrifice during hard times, sickness, and injustice. Hate is a preference. People often say that they hate a certain food or hate a certain place or hate a certain person. What they are really saying is that they prefer certain foods to others, they prefer certain places to other places, and they prefer to be with certain people and not to be with other people. The opposite of love is greed. Greed takes from others and provides for self. Greed sucks energy and life from others for self-aggrandizement. Greedy people ask, “What more can I take from others?” Loving people ask, “How can I give more to others.”

Love is not fair. Fairness implies quid-pro-quo. Love is not reciprocal. When you love someone, you give without expecting anything in return. People often confuse acts of kindness with love. Kindness is reciprocal. I do a kindness for you and I expect that you will do a kindness for me in return. Reciprocation gives kindness value. Failure to reciprocate kindness is, by definition, an unkind act. Unkind acts wither relationships. They do not grow and fortify them. Loving and receiving love in return is rewarding, reassuring, and restorative, but not required.

Love cannot be betrayed. Love has no expectations, so betrayal is not possible. Betrayal is only possible when an exchange is expected. Trust can be betrayed because an equal exchange between people is expected. Without an equal exchange, trust does not exist. People are deemed untrustworthy when do not do what is expected of them. Love has no expectations, and, therefore, can never be betrayed.

Love is sacrifice. The greater the sacrifice, the greater is the demonstration of love. Giving to those we love is easy. Giving to those we dislike is more difficult. We often fall prey to the temptation, “Why should I give my time, effort, and resources to people whom I don’t like because my efforts will go unanswered and unrecognized.” The introduction of an expectation opens the door to disappointment and betrayal. People who give to those they dislike without expectation can never be disappointed or betrayed, for love expects nothing. Giving without expectation improves your life and could change the lives of others.

The most quoted passage of the Bible illustrates perfect love. John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God gave without expectation. He made the ultimate sacrifice of his Son on the cross so that others might be saved from eternal misery. Irrespective of your religious beliefs, loving people without expectations makes sense. Love is the act of giving, not a feeling. Give a stranger a smile, give a word of encouragement to people who are suffering, give to those in need, but above all, give without expectation. Simple acts of giving are acts of love. Small acts of love make other people’s lives more meaningful, if only for a moment, and, in return, they are more inclined to love others making the world a better place to live. Becoming a loving person is easy when we keep our focus on others and not on ourselves.

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John R. “Jack” Schafer, Ph.D. is a professor at Western Illinois University in the Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (LEJA) Department. He is a retired FBI Special Agent. He served as behavioral analyst assigned to FBI’s National Security Behavioral Analysis Program. He authored a book titled “Psychological Narrative Analysis: A Professional Method to Detect Deception in Written and Oral Communications.” He also co-authored a book titled “Advanced Interviewing Techniques: Proven strategies for Law Enforcement, Military, and Security Personnel.” He has published numerous articles on a wide range of topics including the psychopathology of hate, ethics in law enforcement, and detecting deception. Dr. Schafer earned his Ph.D. in psychology at Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California. Dr. Schafer owns his own consulting company and lectures and consults in the United States and abroad.