When we speak of love, the first image that is typically conjured is that of Eros love. We imagine love between two with all that couple-hood entails. But the love I am referring to is more of the Philos love and Agape love. The love we have for someone dear to us outside of a love relationship, and the love we have for everyone else.
Agape love is what we struggle with the most. How can we love someone, anyone, just for the sake of loving another human being? Someone that may not provide anything back to us, someone that may not even know who we are.
How can we love someone that is not only a stranger to us but perhaps hurt us or whom we judge to be a bad person? It’s not an easy task. Some people are very protective and some are not but loving someone who may have nothing to do with us is not something we normally consider. Yet Agape love is what Maslow would probably rank on the level of self-actualization. What those seeking higher spirituality may place on the path to enlightenment.
Agape love is indeed a challenging mission. It is not measuring and judging.
So how do we love unconditionally? Those instructions were certainly not in those things they taught is in kindergarten, although we could say the premise is there.
Perhaps Robert Fulghum was on the right path.
When I learned those things in kindergarten I also learned to see. It is easy to see the beauty and good but what I also learned was that when I see someone, I don’t see the big, ugly or mean. I learned to see past the stranger. When I do, I see the little child. I can feel empathy for who they where, what they have had to endure, and who they remain inside. I can see past those layers of brick walls, armor and swords. I can see who they have been along their travels through life as they share what has brought them to be who they are today. And from that moment on, they are always that child that encases the purest form of Agape love.
The best part on this road to love is when we allow ourselves to truly be that child. When we allow ourselves to live as we once were.