I have been watching Gotham. Yes. Really. And one of the things Alfred says to Bruce is, “There is no love without pain.” That’s ridiculous. If you’re in love or you love someone (of course they’re 2 different things) there doesn’t have to be pain. If you knew that loving would produce pain, would you voluntarily try loving? What kind of an idiot does that?
What happens when the relationship suffers pain? When things go badly, how does that HELP a loving relationship? When one is sick or injured, or death threatens, how can love help? How can love survive? When you’re in love, doesn’t everything automatically get better? When couple says “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, through sickness and health, till death do us part,” are they paying attention? Is that only for married couples?
One on one, married couple, best friends, parent and child, this is always true. When one is down, the other is up. When one is sick the other tends. When one falls on hard times, the other compensates. But if there is no love, why would anyone step up to restore the other? What happens when one dies? The person that is left is not alone because the heart of their partner, their friend, their child, never leaves them. Is it painful? Yes, of course. But what kind of feeling is it when a couple overcomes a tragedy? It brings them closer together.
What does that have to do with leadership? When you are the leader, you have to love your people. Yes, you can run a business where you treat your workers and your associates like little plastic soldiers. But when things go south, you are more likely to fire, shut down, reduce, or cut back than work together to solve a problem. This is really important. If you have to be resourceful to solve a problem and save the people you love, the solution you come up will be more long term and powerful than the short term band aid that would be easier. Down the road, this short term fix, might create a multitude of more small problems that aren’t so easily patched. You can love without pain, but without the fire to test the bond, it doesn’t become as deep and as strong.
The saying is true then…There is no TRUE love without pain.