Marie wrote and said that she had tried to be a wise woman to Lucy, but Lucy had terminated the conversation with obvious dissatisfaction. “I guess I just wasn’t loving enough,” Marie said.
“Maybe,” I replied, “but you really can’t judge how loving YOU were by using the response of another person.”
“It’s relatively easy simply to be kind or accommodating, but genuine loving—the kind that a wise man does—includes teaching. You have to teach people what they NEED to learn. Often the very thing people NEED to hear is exactly what they don't WANT to hear, so it’s often the case that they will dislike what you're teaching them, even though it's true and loving.”
“But isn’t it still possible that I could have been more loving?”
“Oh, sure, we could ALWAYS be better, but all you want to know is whether you were loving ENOUGH, and whether you did your best to be loving. If you use perfection as a standard, you’ll almost always fail.”
We should always listen when someone says we’re not loving. There might be some truth in it, something for us to learn. But the feedback of people we’re teaching is often only a statement of their fears and has little to do with our loving. Just listen to them and evaluate your loving as well as you can.
I remember an aphorism from years ago: If one person tells you that you're a horse, ignore it. If two people in a row tell you that you're a horse, consider the possibility. If three people in a row tell you that you're a horse, buy a saddle.
If you’re properly loving and teaching people, it is unavoidable that some people won’t like hearing the truth about themselves, so these people WILL tell you that you’re unloving. I suggest, in fact, that if you’re not getting at least 15% negative feedback, you’re probably not doing enough teaching. If people consistently don't feel loved by you, however, you probably are not being unconditionally loving—PROBABLY.
Learn how to truly love others and give them what they need.