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noun

noun: love; plural noun: loves

1.

an intense feeling of deep affection.

“babies fill parents with feelings of love”

synonyms:deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment; More

2.    

antonyms:hatred

a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.

“They were both in love with her”

synonyms:besotted with, infatuated with, enamored of, love-struck by, smitten with, passionate about, with a passion for, consumed with desire for; More

affectionate greetings conveyed to someone on one’s behalf.

synonyms:best wishes, regards, good wishes, greetings, kind/kindest regards, felicitations, salutations, compliments, best, respects”my mother sends her love to you”

a formula for ending an affectionate letter.

“take care, lots of love, Judy”

a personified figure of love, often represented as Cupid.

noun: Love

3.

a great interest and pleasure in something.

“his love for football”

synonyms:liking, weakness, partiality, bent, leaning, proclivity, inclination, disposition; More

a person or thing that one loves.

“she was the love of his life

synonyms:beloved, loved one, love of one’s life, dear, dearest, dear one, darling, sweetheart, sweet, sweet one, angel, honey; More

INFORMAL•BRITISH

a friendly form of address.

“it’s all right, love”

INFORMAL

used to express affectionate approval for someone.

noun: a love

“don’t fret, there’s a love”

4.

(in tennis, squash, and some other sports) a score of zero; nil.

“love fifteen”

verb

verb: love; 3rd person present: loves; past tense: loved; past participle: loved; gerund or present participle: loving

1. feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).

“do you love me?”

synonyms:be in love with, be infatuated with, be smitten with, be besotted with, be passionate about; care very much for, feel deep affection for, hold very dear, adore, think the world of, be devoted to, dote on, cherish, worship, idolize, treasure, prize; informal be mad/crazy/nuts/wild/potty about, have a crush on, carry a torch for “I love you, Rory”

5.          

antonyms:hate, loathe, detest

like or enjoy very much.

“I’d love a cup of tea, thanks”

synonyms:like very much, delight in, enjoy greatly, have a passion for, take great pleasure in, derive great pleasure from, have a great liking for, be addicted to, relish, savor; have a weakness for, be partial to, have a soft spot for, have a taste for, be taken with, have a predilection for, have a proclivity for, have a penchant for; informal get a kick from/out of, have a thing about/for, be mad for/about, be crazy/nuts/wild/potty about, be hooked on, go a bundle on, get off on, get a buzz from/out of”Laura had always loved painting”

Whew! This is a lot about love and some delightful nuances to consider. 

However, they left out tough love.  

The basic premise of tough love is that we love enough to do what is hard. 

I would expand on this to say that love is strong. Love does not just lie down and show its belly. 

Maybe, we can even call this Brave Love or Courage Love. It might even be helpful to think of this in terms of being an advocate. An advocate is a champion and stands strong for a cause, a belief, another person and the self. 

When I was in my teens, I may have been a bit headstrong. Ok, more like a tornado tearing through the household. My younger brother also was struggling.  My mother went to a training on Tough Love in order to try to help us all get through this crunchy time. 

My mother did the really hard things and was an advocate for me and my safety. I can assure you that this was not easy! I was getting into trouble with drinking and drugs. Instead of giving up on me, she worked out a plan with the P.E. teacher at the school. My mom would drive me miles out of town every day after school so that I could help this family feed, train and exercise their horses. Even though I would still go on to spend decades struggling with the experience of addiction, this time gave my young mind and soul a reprieve. I was able to learn, care for the horses I loved so much and know that those around me loved me enough to give me a chance. If we come from the perspective of saving me years of struggle, maybe it didn’t fully work. If we look at from the lens of giving me foundation and joy, it did work. Mom’s brave love made a difference and I remember those days and people fondly. 

Courage, brave or champion love for the self appears to be something that we grow into. The circumstances for the growth may be different; coming through tough situations and realizing we are of value or we become self-aware enough that we realize we are hurting ourselves by overeating or spending hours binge-watching T.V.. We decide that we must make some changes. Whatever the catalyst, becoming an advocate for the self is an eye-opening and exciting time in one’s life experience. We learn what is ok and right for us and stop allowing others to treat us poorly. This is a natural outcome of treating ourselves with love and respect. We no longer tolerate boundary crossings or saying yes to things that dim and destroy our light. 

Another way of expressing advocate love is when someone comes to us for help and assistance. Maybe you are a beloved friend, counselor, sister, parent or coach? I suppose the actual role is irrelevant. What matters is the person in front of you. What matters is how you respond. To this day, I recall with clarity, the two friends who told me they weren’t going to tolerate my nonsense with the substance abuse behaviors. They said, “we will be here when you are done,” but we will no longer participate. 

What will you do when another human being shows up on a phone call, in your living room or across from you at coffee and expresses their pain? Here’s the crux and the part most of us aren’t willing to do. Will you allow them to complain, stay in the same ol’ story, commiserate and tell them “it’s ok?” This way makes all of us feel better for a while but doesn’t invite change. Or will you summon your brave love and (ask permission) to give them the straight talk, no BS, no chaser? Will you stand up for this person and really help them with some real talk? 

I know, it’s risky. Friendships can be lost, clients get mad, lovers slam doors. Yet, the courage of the champion reverberates through all of our relationships. We are changed by our convictions. If others are ready, they are lifted up and out of struggle by your bravery. You have advocated for their life, not just put a band-aid on the ouch. 

Love says, “I care too much to let you do that.” Love puts its head down and growls and says, “I will protect you and stand beside you until you are strong enough to protect yourself.” Love grabs the sword of caring and conviction, looks in the mirror and says, “I love you enough to say ‘no’ when I need to, and ‘yes’ to your brilliance.” Sometimes, this kind of love needs to be from afar in order to hold the line and stay the course. It does not mean we love any less. I would wager, it means we love more.

Layne Linebaugh

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