Love Is Context Agnostic cover image

Love Is Context Agnostic

Not long after moving to Colorado this summer, a stranger from the local religious community began inundating me with countless texts and calls. I was too burdened by the move to respond. My deferrals strengthened this woman's resolve to infringe on my privacy. She left random trinkets and notes on my doorstep. Despite explicit requests to stay off my property, she would knock on my door, hoping to initiate contact. Finally, she left a voicemail where she proclaimed, "I know we haven't met yet, but I want you to know I already love you so much!"

I have experience with similar behaviors, having helped numerous survivors of stalking through the complex trauma such violation causes. Those raised outside of orthodox sects rightly recognize these behaviors as predatory and potentially criminal, while zealots consider boundary infringement a moral duty rooted in love and charity.

Within the context of faith communities, holding the healthy boundaries of privacy and refusing to subject yourself to such intimidating and harassing behaviors are indicators of apostasy. Regardless of faith tradition, the resistance to such inappropriate behavior often results in some version of shunning.

Despite feeling traumatized by the stranger's behavior, I don't blame her. I wept for her. She had wasted so much time and energy seeking the approval and acceptance of those who reward such unhealthy boundaries. My heart aches for those so profoundly dependent on external validation.

How could somebody who claims to love me engage in such predatory behaviors? I was scared to leave my home and terrified that this offender would also harm those within my house. I didn't feel loved. I instead felt harassed, intimidated, and violated. When I finally voiced my feelings of violation to this woman, she informed me that I would get used to her behavior. I felt like informing her she should get used to orange jumpsuits.

Love & Context

Love is never reliant on context. Love is only received if it is genuine. Love cannot hurt or harm another person. Love was never the true antecedent if another person felt violated by the action. Acts that result in violation are always motivated by selfish personal desires. Love doesn't make the recipient feel uncomfortable, ever.

People who love me respect me and my boundaries. Had the woman who attempted to contact me under the false premise of love listened, she would have learned her actions were undesired. Had the woman respected me as a person, she would have honored the enunciated boundaries.

Love listens. Love believes. Love accepts the needs of others and seeks forgiveness when harm has occurred.

There's No Such Thing As Tough Love

There's no such thing as tough love. It's a fallacy rooted in manipulation, based on the premise that one has the power or ability to force change in another human.

Every day I hear from children who feel destroyed by the actions of their authority figures. Nearly every day, I hear from parents who believe it's my job to change their children to meet whatever arbitrary standard they deem as socially acceptable. It's culturally endorsed abuse.

I can no more make another person change than change the direction the sun rises in the morning. Yet, entire fields of science exist under the premise that impelling change in people is moral and possible.

Many have accepted that forcing undesired change on another is an act of love. I remain confused about how people think stripping away another person's autonomy is anything other than immoral domination.

I'm hurting you because I love you! A simple rephrase should be all it takes to demonstrate how atrocious the guise of tough love is.

You Cannot Claim To Love Another While Funding Their Oppression

You cannot love an individual while supporting people, businesses, or institutions that actively harm that individual. True love seeks personal reflection. Love requires sacrifice and constant self-assessment. It mandates you ask yourself what in your life is not in harmony with the person I presume to love.

Yes, it's an exhausting process to look for ways your actions and beliefs hurt others. It's also a requirement of the human contract. Those who have given up personal reflection have given up growth and have chosen to exist in a state of damnation. They don't realize it, and they often find it quite comfortable.

I've gotten to the point where I actively seek out others telling me how my beliefs and actions hurt them. Love thrives on apologies and feedback. I crave that personal growth.

Others, not so much.

The woman proclaimed her love of a restaurant that has perpetrated harm against my people since its founding. How could she love me and contribute to organizations that have sought the extinction of my community? She stated it was unfair of me to judge her based on her business patronage. Those with a sincere motivator of love would have sought to understand how the business has hurt people and reformed their behavior.

She voted for an individual to lead our country who had bragged about sexually assaulting women to lead our country. How could somebody say she loves me while supporting a person who believes women are objects to be used without consent for personal gratification?

Love would be recognized as love regardless of context. If the person's behaviors were genuinely rooted in love, I'd have felt honored by the outreach. Love requires listening and believing. Love is dependent on respect, a value that has become nearly extinct within our species.

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