It is impossible to love someone while you are trying to control them. As soon as you exert your will onto another, you are essentially acting in your own best interest at that point.

This makes helping others a rather tricky endeavor. Most people can’t seem to distinguish between “giving people what they want” and “giving people what I’ve decided is best for them”. Unfortunately, you can’t choose the latter without judging the receiver and basically spitting on their sovereignty as a human being.

If a homeless person asks for money and you give them a sandwich, there’s an implicit judgment there. You’re basically saying “I am better than you and therefore I have a superior ability to decide what’s best for you.” Thus giving them the sandwich isn’t an act of selfless love; it’s an act of self-love. You are merely reinforcing your own sense of superiority, asserting control over someone you’ve judged as inferior, and ultimately you’ve stolen their power and left them with a sandwich they didn’t ask for.

This type of “love” is everywhere. Perhaps the most common case is parents “loving” their children by controlling every aspect of their lives in an attempt to produce a human being that fits their own [probably-ignorant] idea of what a human being should be. Generation after generation, the human spirit is born into a world of infinite possibilities…where it will eventually be beaten into submission by insecure parents and artificial constraints.

It’s amazing how my personal views about parenting have changed recently. I’ve always been one of those people silently judging parents who don’t control their kids. I never thought there was anything wrong with spanking or punishing children. In hindsight, I realize that kind of thinking was simply my way of participating in the tradition of ruining humanity, one child at a time. Thank god I never had kids–I would almost certainly be trying to control them, using their behavior to define/validate my own existence, and virtually guaranteeing that none of us would live extraordinary lives. Oh but I’d call it love!

Bottom line: if you truly love someone, don’t try to control them.