02 Apr

“Love has nothing to do with what you’re expecting that you are going to get—only with what you are expecting to give—which is everything.” – Katherine Hepburn
The Greeks had several words for love, and we commonly hear about four of them:  philia (friendship or affection); eros (romantic love); storge (familial love); and agape (selfless, unconditional, divine love). Any love, though, to be effective and complete, must have an element of sacrifice.
To be a good friend, you sometimes have to do things you may not otherwise want to. For example, you might talk to your friend at two in the morning because their boyfriend broke up with them, even though you would prefer to sleep. If you are only friends with someone for some benefit, like social status, then you are not a friend—you are taking advantage of them.
To be a good partner in a romantic relationship, each person must show the other how much they care for their wellbeing, often by putting the other person first. If one or both people are in it for the physical pleasure only, then it is not love that binds them, but lust.
To maintain familial relationships, you have to overlook faults and offer forgiveness, even when it is undeserved. You don’t pick your family members, but if you truly love them, then you do things for them without expecting even a thank-you. You celebrate their successes as though they are yours, and you comfort them in times of despair, even if they do not ask for your help or concern.
To practice selfless, unconditional love—be it toward a friend, a lover, or a family member—you have to take the idea of self-sacrifice one step further. You have to be prepared to give your whole self for the benefit of the other person. The easiest, most relatable example is the love a mother or father feels for a child. A parent would (or should) do anything to protect their child. They would do it without a second thought, without wanting or needing praise or gratitude or fame or anything. They would give their own life, if it came down to it.
In Amulet, which will be published on Amazon and at other online booksellers in just a few days (April 3rd), the hero, Val, has the chance to make the dreams of the woman he loves (Alex) come true. But he knows making that decision will forfeit his future success and will allow Alex to be with the man she loves (a man who isn’t Val). If the love Val has for Alex is real, though, he will have no choice but to give her everything he has, everything he is, despite knowing he will get nothing in return.
It is a difficult decision, to sacrifice oneself for the benefit of another. It goes against human nature. We are wired to be selfish, not selfless. Our physical survival depends upon that selfishness. Yet we go against our nature and make such selfless decisions time and time again. Why? Because sacrifice is the root of all love. And, to me, our ability to love, and to love selflessly, is proof of a divine spark in each of us, whether we choose to recognize it or not.
- Kathryn Amurra

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