Have you ever heard someone say that had reached their max when it came to love in their life? Have YOU ever felt so full of love that you couldn’t take any more? “I have enough love in my life already, thanks. I don’t need any more”…said no one EVER.
Our desire for love: limitless. It’s presence in our lives is often lacking, especially in our harried, technology-driven, instagram and express lane-paced way of living. We walk around more “connected” than ever, while at the same time never feeling more disconnected…or loveless. We “like” and even “LOVE” Facebook and social media posts in an instant with just the telltale heart ♥ as we’re lured into believing that emoticons are a minute demonstration of real emotions. We even say “love you!” with the greatest of ease, and yet many walk around feeling as if it’s been too long since they’ve been told they’re loved or heard that phase “I. Love. You.”, let alone felt truly loved in the unconditional, never-ending, you-can-count-on-me-always sense. REAL LOVE. Nice little slice of heaven we’ve carved out for ourselves, right?
We need others physically, emotionally, intellectually; we need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves.” C. S. Lewis
Connection, along with love and belonging, is why we’re here. Brené Brown
Never has love been more openly discussed (e.g. Love Warrior, The 5 Love Languages, The Four Loves and 831,683 books on Amazon f you search on “love”). But if you get behind closed doors with most, never has love been more absent from hearts and lives. We’re starving for it, living malnourished and emaciated as we consume more and more superficial “sources” of it. Where is the critical disconnect? Why aren’t we able to meet this basic need when we can meet most of our other basic needs, as well as every other NON-basic “need” we might have on a whim?!
In our moments of loneliness, or feeling empty, the “how to get it” is a mystery that either escapes our memory or comprehension. The “why we need it”, though is a reason known to our core: it’s air, water, food, sunlight to our souls and actually to our bodies because research has shown that we literally cannot survive without it.
HOW DO WE GET THE LOVE WE WANT?
How do we cross the bridge when we cry out for more love and feel hopeless that a sensation of being even close to fulfilled DEEPLY, SIGNIFICANTLY is outside our reach?
Accept that you are Divinely loved
It is not an old, out-dated idea. Mastin Kipp (www.mastinkipp.com), best-selling author and entrepreneur, wrote just this morning on his blog that “The greatest Love in the world is Divine Love”. In fact, it’s the bedrock and source of everything to do with LOVE. We were created with a purpose: to be loved upon creation simple because we existed! God (or your Higher Power) just loves you. Period. You don’t have to do anything, be anything, look pretty or meet any checklist or criteria. We are simply and profoundly and deeply LOVED. Take that one in. Slow down your feed and just breathe that in. When or if there feels like no one on the face of the planet cares about you, guess what? You are Divinely Loved. And this isn’t a sermon, or meant to sound preachy in any way. In fact, I still struggle to try to swallow this one without feeling like I can’t quite get it down…like I need to take it in bites. And that’s okay. But just start somewhere, ANYwhere and keep moving towards it because nothing will transform your life more.
NOT at all original , I realize, yet there’s a reason you’ve heard it so many times. It’s true! It’s necessary. Do you love yourself? Do. You. LOVE. Yourself? Breathe it in for a second and, for most, the answer comes up somewhere between the pit of self-loathing (which is sadly the case for many when they get real with themselves) and a lukewarm “I try to love myself”…rarely does the answer come up as “deeply”, “unconditionally” or anything close to a resounding “YES!”. We don’t truly love ourselves for a myriad of reasons that could fill a century of blogs and have filled centuries of books, however the quick answers are often because we fear becoming arrogant or conceited; we fail to see our strengths and gifts buried beneath a lifetime of self-criticism or that of others; we would prefer to just have love given TO us – we feel entitled to it and can’t imagine giving to ourselves when we already feel unworthy. Whatever your reason, just start with one step of noticing what’s good about you, even if it takes picturing 5 year old you and loving that version of yourself (would you really call a 5 year old a “loser” or ridicule them like you do yourself?)
Give love to others
What we long for is often a clue for what we need to give away to others. The amazing part of this cycle is that by giving it TO others, we finally get the love we long for back FROM others. Sow what you want to reap. If you long for connection, start connecting with others. If you want to be loved by others, start loving others whether it’s hugging a friend, surprising a neighbor with cookies, picking up the phone spontaneously after promising a million times to call via text, saying those three words to your mom or dad. No matter how small, just start LOVING outwardly in any ways that come to mind.
Get comfortable with risk
Okay, now we’re hitting the deep stuff. The first two are a bit less threatening. This one, not so much. Long lasting, truly unconditional and deeply fulfilling love cannot happen without risk. To love at all is to be vulnerable. C.S. Lewis Vulnerability is frightening and as anyone who’s loved and then had their heart shattered can tell you, once bitten really does make us twice shy. How can we “unremember” something that painful? Wouldn’t it make sense to build a wall to keep that horrible, gut-wrenching pain away? Isn’t it blind, naive, and unwise to go down a path when we know there’s danger waiting for us if we take it? Yes, yes and no.
While we have to have a certain blindness to our past hurts and we have to tap into a somewhat naive part of ourselves to open our hearts once again to the inevitable hurt, we also have to use enough wisdom to let go of the erroneous idea that there ever can be the love we desire without pain being a part of it. See why it’s so important to love yourself first? If that’s in place, we can choose more wisely those we love and, even when we’ve made the choice, we can count on a foundation of loving ourselves to weather the inevitable hurt that will come as we open up to an imperfect other who is also longing for love.
IF you you know you’re Divinely loved + you love yourself+ you’re giving love that ends up circling back, THEN the fear of loving in the face of risk feels like something that’s cushioned in love. It doesn’t take the risk away but it does give it a context that makes it less fatal.
The hard truth? You will never have true, lasting love without being uncomfortable, taking risk and enduring pain – that’s the definition of love. Any other kind of “love” is merely a hollow version of the real stuff. The amazing truth? Love is already out there, waiting for you to take a step and grab it. This Valentine’s Day (and every day) just take one. Trust me, your world and the world of others will never be the same. It’s, in the end, what it’s all about.
“The reason you are alive is because God wanted to love you. The first purpose of your life is to be loved by God” Rick Warren
“Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together.” Colossians 3:14 (CEV)
Life without love is no life at all. Leonardo DaVinci