The Love of An Open Hand

I promised to write this piece last time, and it’s been coming to me in waves – what it means to love with an open hand.

It means to love someone in a way that makes them feel free. Without ownership, without restriction, without demand. It is to ask them to love you not out of need, but rather out of desire and want.

For years, I’ve written about the critical distinction between want and need. I never want a man to be with me out of lack / need. I want to be a compliment to, rather than a filler in his already full world.

What a man does, has no consequence on who I am. My identity and my value rest entirely independent of a man’s decisions. This is what feels like freedom to me. Freedom from placing myself at the epicentre of his life and decisions; freedom from bearing the weight of those decisions. Certainly, it is freedom from placing him at the centre of my life.

If a man is making decisions for me, rather than because the decision will serve his health and well-being and by lovely wonderful venn diagram add a little (or a lot of) something to my life, I-own-wannit, sis.

What does it actually mean to love someone with an open hand, then? Really and truly? It means to let them feel unrestricted. 

But more important than this, it is to not ask them to change, and it is certainly not to demand that they do so for you rather than for themselves. Ever.

End of day, why are you with them in the first place (or still) if you want them to change? Don’t you already see that all of their imperfections are in fact what make them perfect?

That the sum of each perfect little human is the bad and sad bits cobbled together with heart?

Loving with an open hand is to look at your beloved as an independent and autonomous person outside of yourself, equal to you.

This should never be taken as a reason to harm; rather, it should be taken as a reason to trust. 

Sidebar: Anyone who would use it to hurt others is using it as the excuse, but will glom onto another excuse the moment one creeps up. They will harm no matter what and no matter how.

Trust that they (just as you) will tend to you because they wish to, not because they are obligated to. Trust that in taking care of themselves, this is how they will tend to your connection. Trust that in freedom is honesty and transparency which ought are the foundation of a healthy relationship.

Absolutely key is to trust that in freedom is the impetus to passion. 

This is really human nature, isn’t it? The moment that our hand is forced, the moment we are cornered, there can only be three possible responses – fight. Flight. Freeze.

None of these are love-driven.

I do not wish to fight with anyone. I hate it, with every part of me. But I will if cornered, and I’m lethal when cornered. It’s why I don’t let myself get to such a place; I do not like this side of me, and the last time I did this was over 15 years ago.

I do not wish for my partner to go into flight. And I certainly do not wish for them to freeze in our relationship.

Freezing brings about apathy, disinterest, and an erasure of emotional connection – the triad of a relationship’s death. Nothing can be built on these ruins. Nothing.

So always, I turn back to freedom.

I manifest this with all of my heart.

My partner will never feel constricted. He will never feel as though he will disappoint me. He will never feel as though he needs to change. He will never feel that in his happiness is my hurt. 

He will feel loved to his fullest capacity. Precisely as I met him.

Anything he changes will be for him and him alone. If I am a beneficiary, it is only by the grace of Allah. And I will be grateful for the blessing, rather than demanding of it.

He will feel that he is free to make decisions which lift his heart. 

He will feel supported and admired and encouraged. 

Because I will only be with a man whom I trust fully, and one who moves through this world with complete integrity. That’s not to say he’s without bad past decisions, but rather it is to say the disclosure of those bad decisions, and the understanding of their root cause so that he not choose them again.

A man such as this, in his freedom, should only behave with the strength of character which brought him to me in the first place, and which allowed me to recognize him as an equal.

I expect nothing but the same in return. That and a lot of play and laughter. InshAllah.


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