“I wanna know what good love feels like, good love, good love. I want a love that’s sure to stand the test of time. I wanna know what good love feels like, good love, good love.”
The longing for love in our lives can become more pervasive on February 14th of each year, a day many look forward to and as many dread. It can be a day of surprise (i.e., marriage proposals) or a day of disappointment (i.e, the surprise delivery of roses and chocolates never arrives). If we are among the disappointed ones, we may also experience envy on Valentine’s Day, wishing for ourselves the kind of affirmations others receive seemingly so easily.
I like that Anita Baker’s hit song, “Good Love,” qualifies what kind of love she wants – a good love. Too often we just say that we want love in our lives, that we lack love. More often than not, that’s not the case. We do have love, just not “good” love. If we can begin to acknowledge the various kinds of love and then begin to qualify them, we are well on our way to actually having what we desire.
“[O]ur experiences of love, and our loves, take multiple forms. Some thinkers prefer to reserve the name ‘love’ for a love that has normative content – that is, for loves that they consider to be good loves. Yet we know that not all of our loves are good, though they are loves. There are wise loves and foolish, good loves and bad, true loves and mistaken loves. The question ultimately is, what is a right love, a good, just , and true love?” (Margaret Farley, as quoted in Who Told You That You Were Naked? Black Women Reclaiming Sexual and Spiritual Goodness by dr. candi dugas [available on Amazon, $11.68 Paperback, $9.99 Kindle])
Farley suggests 3 criteria for good love:
- A clear and true understanding of whom you’re loving
- Your interior (i.e., your soul) connects with whom you’re loving (mutuality not necessary)
- Affirming whom you’re loving in ways that are honest about the person’s current reality and potential
No. 1 is in play when we do not objectify a person, only loving him for what we believe he can do for our egos, bank accounts, social statuses or careers. We are engaged in No. 2 when what we’re experiencing is more than words or even actions. And No. 3 is at work when we are not having an affair with a man committed to another relationship as if he was not, as if he were free to commit to us.
When any 1 or more of these 3 criteria is not present in our relationships, we have a mistaken love. Mistaken love is not when we think we love someone, but we’re actually feeling something else, like obligation. Rather, mistaken or false love is when we believe we have a love that does not match the nature of the relationship.
Let the love you have be the love that it is. Find out its name and call it out. If it’s not a good love and that’s what you want, end it; let it go. Then make it your business to get the good love you seek. You deserve it. And you can have it. “What you seek is seeking you.” (Rumi)
“If you’re the man I hear you say you are, I don’t quite understand why loving me is so hard. Never have I felt the need to be this close. Words cannot say, heaven only knows: I wanna know what good love feels like, good love, good love. I want a love that’s sure to stand the test of time. I wanna know what good love feels like, good love, good love. Morning, noon and night, forever all my life.”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
(c) 2017 candi dugas, llc