Sunday, December 23, 2012

What makes a "good" kind of love?

I am on holiday this week with my family, but I wanted to share this wonderful piece of writing with you, for two reasons, as many of you gather with your family for the festive season. 

Firstly, because I wanted to introduce you to Maria Popova. Her blog has gone viral and for good reason. She is one of the most popular, most interesting, most intelligent, most eclectic bloggers  in the world. A link to her blog is below.

Secondly, I felt that there was so much we could learn from the letter she quotes from John Steinbeck, written to his son who has fallen in love.  

Steinbeck's description of what makes  a "good" kind of love,  love that makes the person feel special, unique and 10 feet tall is, I think, the right kind of love for every kind of love:--

The love of your life.

The love for your children 

And the love for your family and dearest friends. 

It is a love we all wish for and a love we should aspire to give. 

It is advice I would want to give to my teenage sons and middle aged friends alike. 

So listen to John and listen to your heart! 

Please leave me a comment and tell me if you ever received advice about what makes love "good". Who gave you the advice? Were they right?

And share the love by reposting this :-))

Wishing my readers who celebrate Christmas a wonderful festive season and all of my readers a joyful and peaceful week as we head towards 2013.


“If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”
Nobel laureate John Steinbeck (1902-1968) might be best-known as the author of East of EdenThe Grapes of Wrath, and Of Mice and Men, but he was also a prolific letter-writer.Steinbeck: A Life in Letters constructs an alternative biography of the iconic author through some 850 of his most thoughtful, witty, honest, opinionated, vulnerable, and revealing letters to family, friends, his editor, and a circle of equally well-known and influential public figures.
Among his correspondence is this beautiful response to his eldest son Thom’s 1958 letter, in which the teenage boy confesses to have fallen desperately in love with a girl named Susan while at boarding school. Steinbeck’s words of wisdom — tender, optimistic, timeless, infinitely sagacious — should be etched onto the heart and mind of every living, breathing human being.
New York
November 10, 1958
Dear Thom:
We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.
First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.
Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.
But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.
Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.
The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.
If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.
Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.
It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.
Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.
We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.
And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.
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  1. Extremely profound and insightful. Not a whiff of cynicism or scepticism, which many fathers would proffer, unfortunately. Great stuff!!

    1. I agree. He is so respectful of his son's feelings and what his role should be in this instant.I love the last line -"The main thing is not to worry- nothing good gets away." it really helps his son, to understand there is no rush and to enjoy what he has right at that time. Thanks for commenting Michael!