Some say love is an emotion. Others say it is a state of mind. For some it is an addiction. For others, love is a mechanism of control. Studies have shown that enough love will save your life. Or, the absence of it determines a life not worth living. Love, they say, is what we make it. What we make it is a function of what we know and believe about it. Many of us are convinced that we know exactly what love is. Others readily admit we have no clue! Operating from either place is probably not the best way to find what we know, need, desire or believe about love. Experience has taught me, love can show up in many ways, with many faces, when it is unexpected and most inconvenient.
Consider that love is to emotion what white is to color. White, being the full spectrum encompasses all colors. Love being the full spectrum of fulfillment, encompasses all emotions. We can be angry in love and, with those we love. We are often confused about the effects of love and the behavior of loved ones. At our best, we are afraid to love and when it is at its worst, we are afraid to lose love. Being in love takes your breath away, while being loveless makes it difficult to breathe. Love can give us strength. It also makes us weak in the knees. Loves softens the heart making us vulnerable. In the next moment, an experience with a loved one can hardened the heart, color the vision and make us unyielding. In order to experience the full spectrum of love, we must be available to receive; willing to lose; committed to stay; and open to know the truth about ourselves and love. In order to express the fullness of love we must abandon our needs and become sensitive to the needs of others. We must expect the best and not complain about what we get. We must live authentically; develop slowly; change radically and, under all circumstances, we must be non-judgmental about the lessons and opportunities to heal and grow that love may offer.
1. Love you first.
Regardless what you may know, believe or have experienced in the name of love, loving you is an essential ingredient for experiencing and expressing love to others. Loving you means holding yourself with unconditional positive regard. It means giving yourself the time and space to make poor choices and bad decisions, knowing that you are learning and growing through it all. Loving you means consciously and consistently engaging in behaviors and activities that are self-supportive, self-affirming and self-honoring. It also means when you forget or resist opportunities to honor you, instead of beating yourself up, you look for and embrace the lessons you learn. When you love on you, when you trust you, when you honor you, you set the standard for how others will love you.
2. Tell the truth about who you are, what you need and what you want.
The most honorable and loving thing you can do for yourself and those you love is to tell the truth. Telling the truth is a sign that you respect yourself and them. Respect is an essential ingredient of love. When you tell the truth about who you are, you provide others with the opportunity to know you and to be intimate with you. When you wear a mask or hide your authentic essence, people fall in love with who you are not. When you tell the truth about what you need, you provide those you love with the opportunity to choose and know how to be in relationship with you. Because you love you, it is your responsibility to make sure your needs are met. Telling the truth about your needs gives those you love the opportunity to choose, for themselves, whether or not they want to share life and loving with you, to participate or not. Loving yourself means you are willing not to participate in activities or with others who cannot give you what you need. When you tell the truth about what you want, you stand a better chance of getting it. If you withhold that truth in fear that you will not or cannot have it, chances are you will have a temporary experience of happiness at the expense of experiencing fulfillment and joy.
3. Put something greater than you in the center of your love.
It is sad but true that many of have experienced the depths of hurt, disappointment and devastation in the name of love. Often this is because we have relied on our limited human descriptions, perceptions and experiences of what love is and how love operates. We have made our truth, our needs and our desires the foundation of the love we seek and the love we offer. The truth is that God is love. This means that love is the Omnipresent- always present; Omniscient- knows all things which can be known, past, present, and future; Omnipotent – has the capacity to do whatever needs to be done. If we are to know the fullness of love we must hold and seek a greater understanding of what love is and how it operates. Rather than relying on and expecting more of the love we have known, we must aspire to demonstrate and experience a higher vibration of love.
4. Be your best.
All too often we expect love to fix, change and somehow make us better. Some forget and others do not realize that we live in a universe of energy. In the environment of life we attract, by energetic invitation, more of who and what we are at the center of our being. When we live at the highest vibration of who we are, we attract more of that vibration into our lives.
5. Always expect the best.
No matter what you have experienced before, expect the best where you are and from whom you are within the moment. Refuse to thread your future through your past! Live the moment in the moment with carrying a heap of baggage into the possibilities of the moment.
The remaining five tips are for you to nibble on in the quiet of your own heart and mind.
6. Forgive first.
7. Give more than you expect to get.
8. Show your love as much as you talk about it.
9. Grow love a little at a time.
10. Don’t make love responsible for your happiness.
This week’s reading:
Psalm 27 in Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness
Nan C. Merrill
This week’s affirmation:
Love is the stuff I Am made of.