How Is It That I Love?
What is this infinitely mysterious thing we call “love”? There have been millions of words written on this subject alone. This elusive mystifying trans-experiential feeling that no words can even come close to and yet we have reduced it to a single definable meaning. It’s as unique as each one of us on this Earth. I will be so bold as to say, that it’s blasphemous that we have made it such a commonality. Our unique experience alone shows how deeply personal this multi-faceted gem can be.
There’s the love between Mother and child, between siblings, there’s the love of Nature, there’s love for an animal, for a partner, there’s love of learning, there’s objective love and subjective love, there’s love for a friend and even in that there’s a differentiation between what type, there’s love of your elders, there’s the love of doing something, there’s the love of a particular feeling. So very many types of love yet, we can look up its definition in a dictionary and define its undefinable nature.
So how do we come to define love in our own lives? We define love by the box we’ve put it in. We attract to us that which we already are or are striving to be. We can only love to the extent that we are. Yes, that’s obvious right? But think back to a time in your life that you were surrounded by people that were not able to really love you for who you were. It was oppressive. You may not have even noticed. You might have even dimmed your light a little (or a lot) each time you were with them? You shouldn’t shine too bright, you could be seen as a threat. You’d be judged. You’d be labeled arrogant. We all have our own version of this story. No matter what version this is what we knew as love at the time. But I ask were these people really loving us at the level we deserved? Did we even think about that?
Let’s dig a little deeper. Going back to the previous example; what were your inner thoughts around this time in your life? What was that inner voice saying to you? Was your inner voice able to take care of you (stand up for you)? Were you able to set boundaries? Or, like most of us, before we learned otherwise, did you settle for what was in front of you? Were you afraid? Were your thoughts loving and supportive? Were your thoughts critical and judgmental? Were you ignoring your “feelings”? Maybe you had been told you were over reactive? Maybe you learned to trust people outside of yourself instead of your own feelings?
Whether this was you or not how many messages have you been given that you should trust in other people’s opinions and not your own? As simple as our parents telling us to put a coat on when we weren’t cold made us question whether we were cold and really didn’t know it. What does that teach us about trusting in our own feelings? I think about how many times I did that to my own children, and I cringe. I meant well but meaning well doesn’t teach them to trust their own inner wisdom. At least kids are forgiving and give us ample opportunity to try again.
The bottom line is…we all want to be loved and accepted. We all deserve to be loved and appreciated for who we are. We need love to feel connected and part of something bigger than ourselves. This is where we strive for approval. It’s this approval and acceptance (or non-acceptance) that creates the base of our initial program. The program that becomes the training ground for self-discovery.
We have role models. Sometimes they are less than desirable, and we don’t think of them as such, but they are our greatest influencers all the same. They influence our entire outlook on life. We become inundated with all the stimuli as children and we learn early to adapt to the most approving situation. Some of us learned to equate approval with love. Some learned that approval is really judgement in disguise. Some of us learned to fear. Some of us learned we weren’t enough. Some of us learned that we got whatever we wanted if we were “good” and some got love no matter what. It’s these lessons that created our vision of what we thought the world was.
Have you ever done the experiment of playing with your thoughts? They say that the world is what we believe it is. Meaning, if we see the world as a hostile place, we will inevitably create a hostile environment to confirm this. However, if we see the world as a friendly place, we will equally create an environment that supports this belief.
A habit has taken hold. It’s ingrained do to programming. The beauty is we have learned that we can re-program our brains and ultimately change our lives for the better. Everything in our world starts with us. The old phrase “the world revolves around me” is very true. This is your life. Your life is your universe. If you wish for your life to be different it will take you to make the changes. No one else can do it for you.
But I digress …..getting back to the subject at hand.
The funny thing is when it comes to love we have expectations of how it should be. But these may or may not be other people’s fears and limitations that were part of our programming. The only way to find out is to dive head on into yourself, really leaning into the questions “why do I feel this way?” and “could this actually be coming from my programming?” You might be surprised as to what comes up.
Until we have learned to fully love ourselves as we are, not as others project on us how they want us to be, we will continue to expect people to love us more than we love ourselves and we’ll continue to be surprised (and hurt) when it doesn’t work out. The way to happiness really is through yourself!
If we can love ourselves just as we are there’s no limits to what we can attract into our lives. Once the limitations and expectations are lifted, there’s no ceiling to hold us down. We can attract our hearts desires and truly be open to receiving it. No more self-sabotage. Self-fulfilling prophecies become a welcome visitor. If you can imagine it, you can create it!
Life will not always be ideal but if you can find the small glimmer that speaks to you in each circumstance beyond the gratifying, rewarding or beautiful you’ll see that every experience provides you the opportunity to hear what speaks just to you. The opportunity to learn. No one else will know what it is. It will be your own little secret, unless you decide to share it.
Life will present you with plenty of tests. You can choose to look at them as obstacles or you can choose to look at them as opportunities, either way, the power of your love is in your hands. How will it be, that you choose to love?