It’s always interesting to see what Wikipedia has to say on a subject. Here is one of the comments on love:
“This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love
You know that rush of feeling intense love that you have at times for your partner? Is that love?
Those acts of kindness when you really don’t feel like it but you know those acts will make a difference to the person you are doing them for? Is that love?
Is it a feeling? Is it a choice? Is it absent when other negative feelings are strong?
There is so much to love. The fact that other languages use a variety of words to describe it is amazing. There is the kind of love I have for friends, my brothers, etc. There is the kind of love I have for my husband. There is the casual affection we often call love - I love chocolate. How about the unconditional love we offer others, not based on performance, attributes but based on their humanity alone?
So, if it is so hard to define how about we talk about what it does and does not do?
We can grow in how well we love someone by growing in the behaviors that are loving and and growing in our willingness to not choose behaviors that are unloving.
I’m about to reflect on an old writing (a couple of thousand years old). It’s a religious writing and one of the wisest ever written about love. These words are from I Corinthians 13 and I’m quoting the Living Bible.
“Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.”
What a tall order! I don’t know any person who always lives up to this.
How do we grow in our ability to love - our partner, our friends, our kids, etc.?
So often our inability to love well is tied to having not been loved well. Our old wounds caused us to create some prickly self-protection. (Picture a porcupine here!)
Our ability to love others well and to be able to receive their love depends on us learning how to let go of the self-protection strategies that backfire in healthy relationships. When I’m in relationship with someone willing to love me well, I can let go of all the ways I was trying to meet my needs before - being selfish, insisting on getting my own way, being irritable, keeping a running list of what they did wrong, etc.
All of those behaviors are an attempt to get my needs met but in a dysfunctional, self-protection way. True love chooses to be vulnerable. To be seen authentically and ask to be loved for being real.
If you have lived your life feeling like you have to defend yourself this will take some practice. It will be little choice after little choice. It will feel risky to be soft instead of angry. It will feel scary to ask instead of insist. It will be hard to try to trust instead of being jealous.
All the choices to let love in and to choose to love better will allow you to be loved like never before!
On this Valentine’s Day I am wishing you love and the courage to be loved and love like never before!
Marilyn, Luv Life Coach
Posted on Thu, May 11, 2017
by Marilyn Orr filed under