Love is a word used so many times that I sometimes wonder if each time we pronounce it, we bear in mind the weight of those four letters. You see, it’s not just about affection, attachment, or strong emotions. If that was all love was about, you wouldn’t yearn so much for a piece of it.
Let’s take Wikipedia’s definition: Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection, to the simplest pleasure.
I want to add to that: Love is also kindness in the face of reality and its harshness. Love is also compassion, even when you’re hurt. It is jealousy, passion, desire, and even anger. Combine all that, and you have what love is about. It’s about you, me, and us.
It’s about human connections.
To love someone is to embrace all there is about that person. More than the things and feelings you’re receiving or experiencing, it’s about accepting and embodying the soul of another human being. It’s about taking it all, the things you like and those you don’t. And remember, that “someone” also includes you.
That’s why love is so hard to find and so keen to be protected. It’s like faith. You’re born without it, you wander aimlessly, but then you experience it, and you never want to let go. Life is at best intricate, but as long as you have love in your heart, you’ll be fine.
It’s important to connect with yourself before you connect with anyone. Learning the things that tick you, the kinds of stuff that excite you, and deeper, the parts of you you’re afraid to see. Take a long hard look at the mirror, do not focus on what you want to see, but embrace what simply is.
“I didn’t act like myself.”
Maybe you’ve heard of this one, or you said it once. As a human being, you are complex, and yes, you can have opposite behaviors, but you’ll always be the owner of yourself. In fact, we have many selves. Some of them bring out the worst in us, some need to be protected against ill intent, and some need to be put forward when the time is right.
You have to know your “selves” and love them. You have to know what set them on and understand why. You have to accept your truth, however ugly you might think it is. You have to graduate from being fine to being great about yourself. Successes and failures, joy and suffering, you have to bring them all and say I do.
Each Sunday before I go to sleep, I take my phone, I look for my empower folder on my google drive, and I start writing in my weekly journal. I write everything in there, the things I did, those I didn’t, couldn’t, and the reasons why. I take a look at the ugly and the good. I don’t limit myself to actions and I also inspect my thoughts. Then, I make a plan to improve myself, and hopefully, love my “selves” a bit more tomorrow.
It is not easy to love oneself, we know too much, but it is necessary. Cause when you’ll do, no one except yourself will be able to control your reactions. That’s power. A strength much needed to wrestle life. Cause when you’ll do, you’ll be fine.
The human brain is wired to reach out and interact. It’s the only way it knows how to evolve, don’t take it away from you. It’s the same thing with love. The heart is wired to feel and then to express. It’s the only way it knows how to make sense of all the stimuli the world is so eager to give us. Don’t stop yourself from feeling.
A few days ago, I listened to a powerful slam from a beautiful writer. Her name is Roen Higgins, and you can find her on Instagram. She said this:
“I don’t know how to produce what I never received.”
— Roen Higgins
That sentence hit me in a place so deep, I didn’t know that I could reach that far into me. If you think about it, a baby doesn’t know how to love. Most of the things we do as toddlers include watching and listening — exception made for whining. As babies, we spend our time looking at our parents, experiencing the affection they give us, and creating for ourselves an idea of what love is.
The first time I really felt “butterflies” was a magical moment, far better than in any Disney movie I saw. My heart was burning so hot, that feeling had to be love, so I was convinced, only to be proved wrong a few months later. Then the next butterflies and relationship came, there again, I believed that was love. You know the script.
It’s the same thing with friendships or any other relationships. With every social interaction, you learn a bit about yourself. You give what you previously received, and based on the reaction, you infirm or affirm your beliefs. All of it is done almost unconsciously but is nonetheless the reason behind your growth.
Connect with people, learn from them and let them learn from you. Listen to them, respect them, and let them know they matter. Surrender your ego, be so present you’re not even aware of yourself, truly be in the moment. Care about others as you care about yourself, and accept them as you accept yourself. There is nobility in compassion.
To truly accept the good and the bad of someone else is no easy task, but it is necessary. Cause when you’ll be aware of their truth, as well as yours, you’ll have enough insights to adjust your reactions. That’s power. A strength much needed to wrestle life. Cause when you’ll be aware, you’ll be fine.
Look Inside, Look Outside, Then Step Back And Look At Both
Everything you do in this life is linked to your emotions. And each interaction you have, with a living being or an inanimate object, triggers and creates a reaction. Most are filtered by your brain, but some, the stronger ones, have power over your behavior. You have to learn how to control them.
Love can help you in that way. Be aware of your “selves”. Understand and accept them. Then go from inwards to outwards, and connect with people, learn from them. Bring compassion and understanding into each exchange, and accept the being in front of you as is.
The following words sum it well:
“I’m thinking of me, and I forgot you’re also thinking of you.” — Dan Fox
Let’s not forget. Cause when you’ll do, you’ll be fine.