Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Love and pain

Artist: Dmitri Minaevich Sinodi-Popov

I'm offering you something very brief today. It's by Ralph Waldo Emerson and I think it is profoundly focused and powerful. I plan to spend quite a bit of time reflecting on it because I think there's a lot being said here - a lot:

The love that you withhold is the pain that you carry.



  1. Wow, that is so true. And you are so right - it is profoundly focused and powerful. I think also, it can act as a catalyst for change, very 'light-givingly' powerful. Much to reflect.

    Thanks, Caro

    PS my word verification for this post was blesical, which is just as whimsical as my newly invented 'light-givingly'!

  2. I don't get why anyone would withhold love if there was love to begin with. I can understand how love could be obscured by conflicting feelings and emotions but to withhold love for the sake of withholding love is not something I can imagine.

  3. Tom - It can be also thought of the other way round. "The pain that you carry is the love that you withhold.'
    (Apologies to RWE for turning his work around!)


  4. I doubt if people choose to withhold love simply for the sake of withholding love but I do think people sometimes try to protect themselves in this way - and some people withhold love in order to punish others.

    My sense is that Emerson is issuing a warning. A person may well think he or she is being effectively self-protective by doing so but the ultimate effect is one of more pain.

  5. Yes Ellie, You're right. Love can be withheld to punish someone. I've seen it. Maybe I'm guilty of doing it. Sometimes it's hard to know why we do the things we do or don't do the things we don't do.

  6. Hi Caro,

    thank you for the blesical of your light-givingly comment. you are delightful.

    annie c

  7. For me, personally, I found myself withholding love at times from my elderly father as payback for the verbally/emotionally abusive man he was to me when I was growing up. When I recognized my actions for what they were, I corrected them, but I wasn't always fully self aware. Now he is dead and I do carry the pain for the times I withheld love.
    Carolyn L.


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