​What I Have Learned About Love

Love - the simplest mystery of our existence. The Beatles say it’s all you need; England Dan and John Ford Coley say it’s the answer - God says without it everything else is meaningless.

Wars have been fought over it, whole countries and its citizens brought to their knees over love. 

It is the subject of countless songs and poems – stories and movies. Everyone wants it; Maslow says we all need it.

People will die for love– kill for it even. Yet, most of us don’t even truly understand it. Our individual experience with love differs greatly based on our understanding of life – the world around us.  What looks like love to me could look like sheer madness to you under a different lens.

We love our babies, our spouses, our friends, our pets, our hobbies and sometimes our jobs. We are told to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. But I’ve found mostly, we don’t love ourselves all that much and so that is why we sometimes treat each other so terribly.

I think people don’t know how to love – it’s not taught in schools only taught in families. And families can be pretty messed up when it comes to love and relationship. We all want our families to be vessels of love of course – but we have no idea how to make that happen and so we go about our daily lives doing what our parents taught us to do, which is doing what their parents taught them to do…  and so the same ideas and thoughts about what it means to love perpetuate down the generations. Falling prey to the age-old fallacy; we don’t know what we don’t know. This doesn’t change unless somewhere along the way, there is a soul brave enough to be a disrupter; (which is often perceived as unloving) disruption creates chaos and people don’t like chaos. Change is hard.

Sometimes love gets twisted.  Manipulation, anger, abuse are used to try and get the love that is craved so deeply in the soul. This creates a counterfeit of love, which is self-serving but not satisfying. 

This is a complicated subject and I don’t have anyone’s answer – as I barely have my own. But I’ve come to learn a few things about what it really means to love…

  1. Your ability to give and receive love is directly tied to your self-worth.
  2. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is apathy.
  3. Webster’s says love is a noun; but I believe it is also a verb in that…
  4. Love always looks like something.  That something may vary depending on the circumstance, but it always looks like something. In difficult situations, I ask myself, ‘what does love look like here?’ Love for myself – love for the other person. If your ego is in it, chances are love is not.
  5. You can’t perfect love– only practice it… you can learn, from others - from God.  A few of us have it down, but the rest of us are just trudging through life doing the best we can. Sometimes we get it right – sometimes we totally suck at it. I’ve done it both ways and I’m not afraid to try and do it differently if needed the next time around…

Today and every day, can you dare to love? Can you allow someone to see your faults, fears, weaknesses and let them love you anyway? It takes courage to be that kind of person; a person, who can both give and receive love that way; the one who dares to know and be known.

That is the person I want to be and that is exactly how I want love to look in my life.  How about you?

Happy Valentine’s Day…

Go love the people you love – and make it great!