Guest post: What is love?

Hello, me again (the ‘guest blogger’ ‘mum of two boys, one with Achondroplasia’).

Love is a difficult entity to put any definition on. The next few paragraphs will take you on a brief tour of my mind and emotions when I think of the word ‘love’.

As you may know, I have two sons. My youngest one is called Lachlan. He is an adventurous, cheeky, charming, smiley boy who was diagnosed in my last weeks of pregnancy with a genetic condition causing dwarfism called ‘Achondroplasia’. Although, when I think about my son, I don’t see a medical problem list. I don’t see spontaneous genetic mutation. I don’t see short stature. I don’t see a disability. I don’t see anything but my gorgeous beautiful son whom I LOVE.

I’m not saying these prior things do not exist but what I’m saying is as a mother it is not my focus. Even my older son may appear to others as ‘the normal one’ but actually he’s had his fair share of medical appointments too. He’s on a surgical wait list currently and has previously had a life-threatening medical condition needing an ambulance trip to the hospital.

What is interesting is that as a mother my intuitive feeling that consumes me towards my children is LOVE. Love focuses on all the things my children ARE, what they CAN do and what they are CAPABLE of. There is no diagnosis in this perfect vision. There are only new possibilities which arise with difference, challenges which can be overcome and problems become opportunities to build character.

Because when we LOVE, we accept people as they are. Flaws. And. All. I’m not saying my children are flawed, I’m just saying nobody on this earth is perfect. Perfection is not a definition I can say anyone has achieved (sorry).

This love I am referring to doesn’t only have to refer to motherly love but can also be transferred into how we love anybody. Take friends for example. My friend Charlie (who writes this awesome blog). I don’t see her as the girl who has no immune system or the girl who has scarred lungs. I don’t see her as a deficiency, a diagnosis or a previous victim. To me she will always be the girl in the class who was kind when I was bullied (she may not remember) and the one who is strong in the face of adversity. She is the one bold enough to speak up. She is the one whose friendship and loyalty has spanned almost two decades.  So, when I meet up with her I see what is possible. I see her through eyes of love.

In medicine (the area in which I work) we call this general idea “strength based practice”. It’s a concept in which we affirm people’s potential and seek to further enable and enhance their strengths compared to only focusing on the deficits.

So why don’t we look at that co-worker who can rub us up the wrong way or that family member we may only tolerate once a year and see what is great about them. Let us use LOVE this Christmas. Let us accept the whole person as they are and focus on the GOOD this holiday season.

Imagine what it would be like if we treated all the people in our lives with love and acceptance while building on each other’s strengths…

Simone

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