From Getting High: Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Ascension for Melanated Teens
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Let’s talk about love. Love is often confused with attraction, admiration, or approval. For example, a dude might think a girl is fine and has a nice shape. He might say, “I love her.” A girl might think a guy is super nice, smart, and a great basketball player. He isn’t just good to her; they also look good together and she will be the envy of all the other girls at school. She might say, “I love him.”
Or more commonly, we might be happy with how someone is treating us or what they are doing for us and say, “I love you.” Then, if that person is not making us happy anymore, we say, “I don’t love him/her anymore!”, “He lied!”, “She cheated!”, “He’s a loser!”, or “She’s a gold digger!” Where did the love go?
Real love is unconditional. It is a sincere desire to see the best for that other person’s life, even if they make mistakes, even if they don’t make us happy, even if they are no longer in our lives. Unconditional love does not mean that we accept mistreatment or abuse. We can send a person good thoughts from a distance because we love ourselves enough to want the best for ourselves too.
Do you think that you can tell the difference between real love and fake love? Let’s test your knowledge.
Case Study 1:
Marlon says he loves Tiana. He brings her sandwiches from an off-campus restaurant every day at lunch and writes her sweet notes. He says he loves her kisses more than those of any girl he has ever dated. Tiana starts skipping classes to make out with Marlon in the hallway stairs. Her grades drop and she gets put in academic probation. She tells Marlon, “Babe, my grades are getting bad and my mama said if I don’t get it together, she’s gonna whoop my a**.” Marlon says, “I’m sorry, baby. I just love you so much. I can’t help it.”
Does Marlon love Tiana? Circle yes or no.
Please give three reasons for the answer you selected.
Case Study 2:
Marcus is in his junior year of high school and is a star player on the Varsity football team. He worked hard to get in this position by practicing diligently, running every morning, and hitting the weight room in his free time. He meets Kelli, a new girl at school, and is more attracted to her than he has ever been to any girl. Marcus spends all his free time with Kelli, but he doesn’t have much free time because of practice, the gym, homework, chores at home, and games. Marcus knows if he keeps working hard, he can get a football scholarship to any college he wants to attend.
Kelli likes spending time with Marcus, but her friends get to see their boyfriends every day after school and she only gets time with Marcus maybe one or two evenings a week. She is jealous of her friends that go on real dates and not just to football games. She is also suspicious of the girls on the cheerleading team who are always on campus at the same time as the football team and travel with them to the away games. Kelli tells her friends, “Let me find out Marcus is messing around with one of those cheerleaders!”
Kelli gets fed up with not getting enough time with Marcus and wondering if he is messing with the cheerleaders, so she tells him, “It’s me or the team!” He must choose between Kelli and football. Does Kelli love Marcus?
Does Kelli love Marcus? Circle yes or no.
Please give three reasons for the answer you selected.
Kelli might like the way Marcus looks or the way he treats her, but she doesn’t know what love is. She is not even thinking about what’s important to him or about his future. Like Marlon, she is being selfish based on her own desires and not being considerate of the person she says she loves.
Even after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me,”
Look what happens with a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.
If you begin practicing real love, you will have an all-around better life. While your peers are crying and fighting over boys and girls, you will date with strength and grace or with strength and diplomacy. Some teenagers even kill themselves or other people because of false ideas about love. Be the wiser person.
And love is not just for lovers! Practice real love with your friends and family too. In the Bible, Jesus only gave two commandments, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” and “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
In other words, love God and love one another. If we all practiced truly loving one another, we would not take advantage of, kill, steal from, lie to, be jealous of, or otherwise hurt one another. You can’t control or change everyone, but you can adjust yourself to a vibration of love. Your practice of love will have a positive ripple effect on everyone you encounter.
“But Sister Nikala, what about when someone is talking down on me or spreading lies? Am I supposed to love them too?” Choose first to love yourself enough not to engage in their foolishness. Verbally defend yourself if you need to, but your character will ultimately speak for itself and they will show themselves to be fools.
“Sister Nikala, what if that fool runs up on me? Do I love them enough to let them catch these hands?” Yes, if you need to physically defend yourself in self-defense, do so. However, do not seek fights and always try to talk it out instead of make a trusted adult aware of the situation. That means you should never be the first one to strike because you tried your best to resolve the issue in another way.
Of course, some fools are just persistently crazy because they are so jealous of you or their self-esteem is so messed up. They may threaten to cut, shoot, or kill you to seem in control or powerful. Threats of violence and murder are nothing to play with. If the issue can’t be resolved by involving an adult or the police, ask to be transferred to another school. Usually, if you tell the principal, they will expel that student or send him or her to another school instead though.
“But Sister Nikala, I ain’t no snitch and I have a rep to maintain.” Every year, thousands of teenagers get shot and killed trying to uphold a rep. Do you think they are worried about a rep in the cemetery? You only have your life to live and if you feel it’s in danger, forget about a rep, and protect yourself in the safest way possible.