Just a little LOVE note <3
“It is the greatest force on earth, stronger than hate.” - Unknown
“Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet is the humblest imaginable.” - Mahatma Ghandi
I believe love is the most complex emotion we feel as humans. The term, “I love you” is loosely thrown around without true thought, yet holds more power than arguably any other statement. It is given and taken too easily. It’s crazy because its meaning can be life altering, yet it isn’t quantifiable. It is multifaceted; you can love a person, place, thing or idea. It is misunderstood and at times undervalued. It is messy and beautiful, kind and patient, but it is complicated and riddled with expectations due to how we perceive it in society.
It is something every human on this earth craves, yet something most of us fear. When presented with it, we shy away from giving and receiving it more than we do any other emotion. Our ego tells us stories - stories that we’re not enough or undeserving, that we could get hurt or hurt someone else, that it’s not the right time or that they’re not the right one. Our perception of love is flawed, from day one love is taught differently to us all, and no matter how much we crave it our ego is typically too big or small to handle the “what ifs” that are associated with opening ourselves up to it fully.
For example, I asked my Instagram followers a question - “When you think of love, what word or phrase comes to mind?” Here were the top responses:
These words are beautiful ideas of love but they leave me with some big questions:
1. Are these about things that you give or receive from love?
2. Are you able to feel all of these things about yourself? Comfort in who you are? Unconditional love and Compassion for yourself? Can you be selfless? Are you able to radiate warmth? Accept yourself and others for who they are?
3. Are we looking for a fairytale?
In regards to question two, how can we ask others to give us what we are unable to give ourselves. And, if we cannot give it to ourselves, can WE ever really give these things to someone else? Is it fair to expect others to provide for us what we cannot give ourselves? Are we willing to do the hard work we are asking of others?
Life experiences change the way we give and receive love but nothing is permanent; love is a learned behavior. However, from a young age we are taught that love should look, feel and act a certain way. We paint pictures so big and so detailed that when a lover does come along they need to fit this mold, and if they’re don’t then we walk the other way. Have we just walked away from something that could have been right, but we were too blinded by all we have been told and led to believe that we are unable to see it? What if we stayed, gave it a chance and put in the work?
“Who are you to say that I didn’t love you, because I didn’t love the way you wanted?”
- Jason Derulo (swoon)
This seems to be a very common case of why our relationships don’t work. We enter into relationships with an expectation of who the other person is and how we want them to treat us. If they don’t fulfill our wants and needs then they must not be the one. But how many of you have ever stopped and recognized their way of giving and receiving love? Maybe it is, in fact, not enough for you … fine, but I think we sometimes assume the persons feels or doesn’t feel a certain way because their love is different. It’s not entirely our fault, we base things on how we’ve encountered love in our own previous relationships and that, in turn, doesn’t allow us to see and understand the other person and where their ability to love comes from. If their parents showed affection in gifts, hugs or kind words, it’s likely they will as well – it is the love they know. The same goes for what they don’t know. If they weren’t raised in an environment that compliments one another or talks through disagreements, that may not be something they are used to. It doesn’t make it impossible for you two to love each other, it just takes the time and patience to understand each other.
As soon as I mentioned the word love every one that responded to me immediately assumed I was referring to a relationship with a partner, but what about how you love the other people in your life, your ability to show up for or be seen by them. Love for a child or parent, friend or family member are also forms of love that dictate your ability to give and receive - if you are a parent you know there is no love like the one you have for your child. It is unparalleled. It is pure and unconditional, genuine and typically bigger than the love you possess for yourself, which we as humans argue is the “most important love.” Having that love in front of me, and then losing it, temporarily changed me. The person who grew up wanting a big family was now unsure if they could ever cross that bridge again. The person who truly believes LOVE is the greatest gift we have to offer as humans was no longer able to show love; she was angry. My ego had completely taken over and it took me quite some time to reset it. I struggled to look at other children and people with love, and it took time for me to realize that if I was blessed enough to have another child at some point in my life, my love for him/her would again be unparalleled.
“Here’s the thing, you’re in love with a version of a person that you have created in your head that you are trying to, but cannot fix. The only one you can fix is yourself.” - Unknown
It all comes down to the statement above. We have often created this fairytale of how this person - lover, child, friend or parent is going to show up. We set our expectations, reread the chapters we have been taught throughout our life, the good and bad and we charge on. It won’t be until we sit with ourselves, like REALLY sit and get real with our own shit that we can expect all of the love we crave. I mean, if love showed up before you were able to get real with yourself, would you even recognize it? You don’t need to be perfect, but you do need to be aware of what you lack, where you struggle and be able to own it. After all, we’re all just trying to be the best we can be. Real talk, you are only worthy of the love you are able to give and people can only meet you as far as they’ve met themselves.
One last thing, I do not want you to think for one second I sit here and have love all figured out. My friends will tell you, I am very good at giving my love away but not so good at receiving it. I’ve been burnt, so the walls are up, but I’m slowly working on bringing them down. As Ghandi said, love should be humble and as the other saying goes, it should also be patient and kind. Comfortable, unconditional, full of compassion, selfless, warm, and accepting are things it should also be, but it can’t be all those things to someone else until you truly give them to yourself first. So, today and every day, look at the people around you, like really look at them. They are showing up and giving you the love they know; they are doing the best they can with what they’ve been given and you are doing the same. Keep the lines of communication open and try to give them what they need. Hug them, even if it’s not your thing, simply because you know it’s theirs. Tell them what you’re working on and they’ll likely reciprocate. Don’t run from those that do love you. Yes, it’s scary as shit, but what’s worth having that isn’t? Broken hearts mend. Love is unlimited, open yourself up to as much of it as you can, today and every day. It is the most important thing on earth and when all is said and done, it is the only thing that matters.
Sending you all the love that I hold in my heart today.
Happy Valentine’s Day