We are taught some very strange ideas about what love is.
There are people who believe that hurting others is loving them. There are people that think love is allowing others to suck the life out of them. Having lived in both of these scenarios, I can attest that this is NOT what love is. How did I know that? Because I wanted something different. I wanted to be safe, cherished, respected. I yearned for love until I found it, and then I felt affirmed in my definition of love. It is so basic to our nature to want to be loved and held in deep and profound recognition. It is HUMAN to want to be loved. It isn’t silly, or childish; the desire for love is earnest!
So often we learn what love is NOT by experiencing its opposite, and then clearly understand what love is when we get in the presence of it. But if we’ve internalized the inaccurate understanding of love, it can be hard to allow ourselves to trust this new understanding. It really takes a reprogramming of our conditioning, which can be painful, because this requires acknowledging the false “love” (and its wounding) that we entertained before. True love gives us permission to challenge our deeply held beliefs, and gives us the courage to change them.
For me, I have learned that love is a safe place to land. When I have encountered this sensation of a safe place with people, I’ve felt it immediately, and sensed my “surrender of arms” in response. It is a blissful awareness of coming home. It feels like the heart opening, and being given full permission to drink.
Here’s the dictionary’s definition of love:
love [luhv] noun – a profoundly tender,
passionate affection for another person.
I note the term “passionate” here and share with you that I resisted that word until I understood in a different way than we are taught (the sexual connotation). Passionate here means that you would do anything, ANYTHING for that person you love. Including changing yourself to be more loving. I would do and have done this for my children, my primary motivation to be love in this world. I am continuing to learn how to be more loving to other people in my life who invite me in. Who view me with the same love and respect that I hold for them. And who are committed to the same awareness of personal freedom and responsibility that I have so dear to my heart. I want also to others who may not love themselves but nonetheless wish to be loved, nakedly.
We don’t often surrender to our most vulnerable places because it means feeling the pain that is there. Staying vulnerable is hard in a culture that values staying tough, in power and in control. We are labeled as weak, childish or victims if we express a need for sweetness or understanding. We may be rejected outright, like the older animal in a herd, left behind for the predators. I have experienced much rejection in my life from people who I would have relished love from and who have yet to awaken to my value to them. But I have stayed vulnerable…I haven’t given up because I know what love really feels like. I also know that, until we fall to the bottom of that dark well of our pain, we can’t unleash the great joy and desire that naturally springs from it. The willingness to surrender and be vulnerable is directly proportional to the love that we can receive.
The desire for love is to be trusted. If you yearn for love, TRUST that. That is what life wants, THROUGH YOU. The continuation of life and love are intimately tied together; love is the language that Life speaks, in its continuous expansion, to open the doors to greatest unfolding. The more love, the more Life. This is my definition of love.
© Licia Berry 2013, all rights reserved