Because the word “love” is so often abused when it comes to the way we expect to be treated by others, I have invented the word “wuv” to describe the sappy, feel-good, kid-glove way people expect to be treated, and that people tend to view as being treated in a “loving” way by others, so as to distinguish this feeling of being loved from the reality of far harsher (and more unpleasant types of love) like rebuke and chastening that I tend to find far easier to give to those who are openly hostile and willfully ignorant, especially in internet discourse. Therefore, I thought it worthwhile to comment at least a little on the distinction we must make between love and “wuv” when it comes to how we are treated by others.
I have to say at the outset, lest I be misunderstood, that tough love cannot be the only type of love we show toward others. When someone is hurt, or frightened, it is far better to show gentleness and kindness, to bind up the wounds, or to calm down the frightened. There is no need to terrify those who are already scared, especially if it is not their fault. And even when someone suffers for their fault, it is far better to bind up their wounds in the hope that they will have learned a valuable lesson while also providing them a lesson in treating other people charitably and resisting the temptation to say “See I told you so” to make someone feel worse about making an error, especially where they were warned. Sometimes a little bit of charity can go a long way.
That said, I am not talking here about such cases where we are dealing with those who are wounded who need care or who are frightened and need the time and care to calm down. Rather, I am talking about those who lash out at other people and then complain about the harsh rebukes they receive for their behavior. It is striking that those who show others the least love are those that complain the most about the lack of love that others show to them. People want to be free to give rebuke and tough love and to be harsh and critical of others and then demand that others show them wuv and concern and are gentle with them even as they bite and scratch and claw at others. It is hard to know what planet these people come from (perhaps Mars?), because it should not take a great deal of understanding or wisdom to realize that people are far more loving and gentle with those who are loving and gentle themselves.
The Golden Rule is both easy and difficult at the same time. It is easy to think ourselves kind and loving and worthy of respect, and hard to treat others with love and respect. We judge ourselves by our intents and others by their results, and excuse ourselves for having good ends but bad means but judge others by their behavior not seeing or knowing their intents and motives, which may be as good (or better) than ours. Because of our natural self-centered and immature ways, we see ourselves as being free to give rebuke and tough love but cannot see the love in the rebuke and correction and discipline of others.
And so, when we ask others the question “where is the wuv?” or, as it is often phrased, “Why are you being so unloving?” the obvious answer is often neglected–we cannot look for others to be loving and gentle to us unless we are loving and gentle to them. If we are harsh to others, we can expect that they will behave likewise to us. Loveable people and beings in general receive plenty of love, while those who are harsh and nasty and ferocious are often so treated. If you want wuv from others, you need to show it yourself. It’s not that complicated.