Tough Love

As the famous Tina Turner once asked, what’s love got to do, got to do with it? If I had to answer that question in respect to life and college basketball, love has almost everything to do with it. Tough love has everything to do with it.

Tough love is something- regardless of our backgrounds and many walks of life- we all experience. Some of us fail to appreciate the value in it simply because we don’t know any better. Some of us deem it as mean or unfair. But others recognize the act of tough love as the trigger to the growing pains that often decide our fate.

I can honestly say I have viewed tough love through the eyes of a pessimist, a “victim,” and someone who truly sees the beauty in being challenged. However, it took me a long time to recognize the latter concept. Tough love is something that has molded me, and continues to mold me, in everything I want to be one day.

It is one of those necessary evils at times. If we don’t have anyone to get in our face, to tell us what we are doing is not good enough, or to give us feedback that isn’t always positive, what would we have to shoot for? Essentially nothing. Tough love comes in many forms, but the end result is always the same for those who recognize its value. These people respond to tough love in a way where sympathy is far from the answer.

Does tough love hurt? Can it get your panties in a wad? Absolutely. But before you react, listen. Tough love is so easily lost in translation. Chances are the person dishing it out is someone who cares deeply for and believes in you more than you think is possible. Whether it is coming from your parents, your friends, your siblings, your teammates, or your coaches, tough love is a privilege.

And when we realize exactly that, we begin to respond less negatively and more positively. We begin to listen and not react. We begin to embrace what is being said and not resist or deny it. And most importantly, we begin to think more of the people who show us what tough love is and not less.

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