I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
What does that mean?
This is a quote often used to woo a lover, or to smooth things over with a loved one after an issue has been resolved. However, again, I believe the quote can be applied to a larger group than just our lover. I believe that this quote can be applied to nearly all of humanity, if we are willing to try.
This is a shortened version of a longer quote, which is:
“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.”
With the longer quote in mind, this could easily be applied to a mentor or teacher. It could also apply to many of your closer friends, those who helped you learn more about yourself.
It can also apply to anyone who believed in you, who encouraged you when you may have had doubts about yourself or your abilities. It is my belief that this quote is about all the best motivations we have as humans.
Why is encouragement important?
We’ve all been down, and needed a little help getting back our confidence. What do those people who helped you mean to you? Is there a form of love for them in your heart? Again, love is a broadly defined term, covering everything from romance to an affinity to a concept.
Think of all the times when you almost didn’t do something, but a word of encouragement from a friend or mentor helped you gain the strength to do it. Sometimes the encouragement was positive, other times somewhat less so. But you took the step, you did whatever it was that you otherwise wouldn’t.
Where would you be now, if no one had bothered to encourage you, even once? How do we repay these wonderful people? Yes even the mean coach who kept yelling at you to try harder. We show at least some appreciation, one of the smaller sizes of love, if not a more significant size of love.
Where can I apply this in my life?
This quote applies to both sides of our lives, By that, I mean both the acknowledgment of someone else’s encouragement as well as us giving our encouragement to others. Let’s take a look at each separately and see where we might need to improve ourselves a little.
Let’s start with how you have responded to encouragement. I would say that there are generally two kinds of encouragement; the kind you appreciate, and the kind which you find annoying. I imagine you’ve had little difficulty showing some level of love for that which you appreciate. Or are you not the kind to show gratitude? Perhaps you could work on that, just a little?
But how did you respond to that which you found annoying? Did you ignore them, or act in anger or hurt? Did you consider their intentions, and that they might have meant no harm? Was your reaction in proportion to their intent, did you respond with kindness and love?
That set of questions was not intended to be irritating or annoying. The hope was that you would consider how you have reacted in the past, and what you might do to respond in a kinder and more loving manner in the future. Do you commonly mistake honest encouragement for taunting? What could you change in your attitude to help mitigate that misconception?
After you have taken a few moments to consider those points, it’s time to take a look at the other side of the coin. How do you give encouragement? Do you say kind words, or do you yell insults? There are times for both, and there are situations where one might be more appropriate than the other.
I would imagine nearly anyone who has been in an organized sport at the High School level or above has had their ears blistered once or twice by a coach. Whether it was because they weren’t thrilled with the level of effort or your attention to detail, that’s a common way to provide some “encouragement” to an athlete.
That doesn’t make it right, but it is still common, at least where I live. But it isn’t the right way for every aspect of life. Can you imagine the reaction of a toddler, just taking their first steps if you went off on them about being a slacker and not learning from the mistakes they made this morning? Not pretty.
Even if you have the best intentions, they might consider your method of “encouragement” to be a bit annoying. Take a little time to consider how you encourage others under different circumstances. At home, at work, and in different social settings. How does it differ?
Now take a moment and consider how the other person might view your attempts to encourage them. Yes, you are trying to make them better, but are you also being annoying? You do know that some methods can be very counterproductive, right?
Most of the time, we want to help others do well. The only question is how skilled are we at doing it. The more precisely we can provide the kind of encouragement they need, the less likely we are to offend or annoy. And we can always try to respond to the encouragement of others warmly, even if they weren’t very skilled in their methods, right?
From: Twitter, @Quotes_on_Love
confirmed at : http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/383993-i-love-you-not-only-for-what-you-are-but
Photo by Chris Hunkeler