A long time friend challenged me by asking, "What do you mean when you say I love you?" Gently she explained how she believed I overused the phrase. She expressed how she rarely spoke the words, preferring to save them for "the real deal." It was a valuable conversation inspiring us both to explore our beliefs about love. We ended up in a pool of appreciation for our differences and for our friendship. I’d like to share some insight with you...
Every person has their own definition of love.
Love from another person's point of view can be entirely different than what we believe it is. It's good to know this. When we say I love you, and someone puts the concept through their filter, I bet they feel our words mean we will love the way they define love, and that we will behave accordingly. This is rarely true.
Pat (my husband) and I have found it fascinating and sometimes frustrating how diverse our ideals of love are. However, after a good dose of exploration and sharing we always come to see how we value and prioritize differently... and still love each other madly.
I discovered my definition has changed a lot over time. At this juncture in life love includes appreciating where someone is on their journey and honoring what they’re experiencing, instead of judging it. As I've aged I feel love is a stand for kinship and care. It's being kind. And, if I latch onto some idea of how a person should be, or fall into the right and wrong game, love is instantly replaced by resistance and disconnection.
Perhaps the treasure of life is being able to love.
Maybe love can include trusting that we’re all doing the best we can and that sometimes we just blow it and make mistakes. When I trust what is happening with another and don't interfere (not an easy one for me), everything flows into place. However, if a person asks for help and will allow me to remind them how dear they are, I’m on it like bees on honey.
My dear friend’s question had me realize I'd gone though life wanting to get approval and attention as though this was love... and my worth depended on it. Now, it's more about what's coming from me than what's coming to me.
I heard something the other day that made tremendous sense to me, it went something like this: Our lives are spent trying to collect love so we can be happy, when happiness is actually the result of giving love.
I felt these words ring true in my heart. What a relief, I thought to myself, I can do this!
I don’t have to hope someone else will make me happy and fill my life with meaning. I can love, I can flow love, and my joy is being able to do this. The truth is, I love the vibration of love and I get to feel it whenever I slow down and decide to.
How... when I pause and look at the trees waving I feel it, when I appreciate the vast blue sky I feel it, when I listen to a bird’s song or look into my husband’s green eyes, my heart fills with it. And the coolest part, we all have the privilege of loving someone or something any time we choose to.
How we feel moves out from us like ripples in a still pond when a stone is tossed in. We can touch another, no matter how far away they are. Let's offer something kind to our planet by taking the time to muster up this profound feeling inside.
I'm grateful for you.