Love vs. Favor
Love is free, but Favor has responsibilities…
Have you ever grown into a feeling of being used by the same person who you used to do things for effortlessly? Have you ever extended far beyond yourself for someone who demonstrated little or no gratitude? Have you ever given so much that you had nothing left to give? That’s because we mistake Favor for Love and abuse ourselves with the wrong offerings.
Love does not cost us a thing. Not to give and not to receive. If anyone tells you differently, consider it a teachable moment and school them. Love in and of itself requires nothing but the willingness to feel, to embrace, and to honor someone’s personage. We love others because we are loving individuals. This means sometimes we may love people who do not reciprocate that love and that is OK.
However, favor is not an automatic result of love.
Favor (n): an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual; a special privilege or right granted; preferential treatment
When we ask someone to “do us a favor” it is because we know the request is extra-ordinary. Something they don’t have to do, but we would appreciate it if they would. A favor is something above and beyond what is required or even necessary. Favor is the extra stuff. The bonus. You order a drink and the bartender makes it extra strong—that’s favor. You do well at work so your boss turns a blind eye to that one really long lunch break—favor. Your homie came through for you even when it severely inconvenienced them—favor. When you provide favor for someone, you set an expectation for exceptional treatment. When you provide favor regardless of poor behavior, you set yourself up for heartache.
Favor is special access to your personal being.
In reality, everyone should not have access to your favor. Favor is not an automatic result of love and unlike love, favor must be earned. In the Bible it states that everyone is capable of receiving the favor of God, however in order to do so, you must do certain things that demonstrate your worthiness. In other words favor comes with responsibilities. For God, we are required to fully submit to him, resist what is not of him, be humble, not slander, and several other things. The laws of Karma state (much like the Bible) that we reap what we sow into the Universe. You must put in good things, first, before you can reap them. Period. Think about it: why should you not require others to live up to a certain standard in order to receive exceptional treatment from you?
Remember, love is the sundae. Favor is the cherry on top.
When people say “if you love me you would…” they are not asking you to prove your love, they are asking you for favor. THIS IS YOUR DECISION. You have a choice. In this choice you must decide whether or not they are worthy of your favor—NOT of your love. You will always love—if you are a loving person, but you are not required by any stretch of the imagination to offer favor to anyone just because they ask. If you are having difficulty with the concept of being “worthy,” fine. Ask yourself if you feel fully replenished by this person and the status of relationship (i.e. significant positioning) you have offered them in your life. If the answer is no, you may want to re-consider the level of favor you offer them as well. Why offer the best of yourself to people who do NOT do the work required to have your favor?
All membership levels don’t come with the same perks!
Let me be clear. This is not about judging. Love means we accept someone for who they are and where they are in their life and in their journey. The denial of favor does not mean you do not love—it does mean that someone has not reached your personal standard or has abused your willingness to offer special treatment. Favor is not unconditional. Nor should it be. Giving constantly of yourself without being replenished will deplete you. Key word: replenish. Those in our life who seek to take without replenishing should not be extended favor unconditionally. That doesn’t mean you can’t be nice or that you have to say “no” to every request. However, KNOW that you don’t have to say “yes.” Stop extending favor to someone or some situation without assessing (or accepting) the level of worthiness.
When you fail to set a standard for how others are allowed to treat you are not protecting your most crucial asset: your heart. This concept applies to romantic relationships, friendships, family relationships and even your job/career. Some might suggest that a so called “ride or die” would be the same no matter how they are being treated, but that concept expires at 30 years of age—you know, when you realize you know better. When you realize you deserve better. When you realize you don’t have time for others to waste—for you. When you realize you don’t have time for others to waste—YOU! Favor is not based on potential and can only be based on credit for so long. You get what you pay for and Favor is expensive.
Truth is you owe it to yourself to distinguish what acts are demonstrations of your love vs. acts that demonstrate your favor. Once you do, you may find it easier to see how some of those feelings of being un-appreciated can be avoided by simply not extending favor to those who haven’t earned it. In reality, this isn’t an overnight, sit and make a list thing. Just like this post was a bit longer than normal, the process of distinction might be as well. It takes time to become aware of those things that make us feel taken for granted.
Here’s a tip though: start with the things that feel like an inconvenience.