This love business can be tricky.

Thomas Merton, in his book No Man Is An Island, articulates the subtly of love saying:

The beginning of this love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

I am only truly loving when what I want for you is, not what is best for me, but what is oriented most fully to your true becoming and your ultimate well-being.

It is tempting for me to want to use you to fulfill my own needs, wants and desires all in the name of love and what is “best” for you. True love sees that we are not other. We are joined in a unity of love that binds all creation into one.

This is why Jesus instructed his followers to “love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) Your neighbour is your “self.” Love makes no distinction. Love does not divide, discriminate, or separate. To love is to see life as whole and live with an awareness of our deep connection with all of creation.

How does my behaviour change when I see my deep intimate connection with all forms of life?