What does love actually mean? Oxford dictionary definition – An intense feeling of deep affection, a great interest and pleasure in something.
I know for years, I was under the mistaken impression that me loving someone so depended on conditions, almost like a contract. I would love someone so long as they always did this and I would stop loving someone if they continued to do that. That is what I was taught and I have always been a good student. According to Byron Katie, world famous American speaker and author, “no two people have even actually ever met“. Like everything else I experience in life or hear from others, I didn’t just take her word for it, I put it to the test. I did discover that I have the power to like, love and/or care for everyone. I came to realize that I am in charge of the decision to like someone or not and that I create my story about them and make it a good one! And for me that is so powerful and exciting.
For each person that we meet in life, we create in our minds a story about them. “I like that person already because he has beautiful blue eyes” or “I don’t like her because she has messy hair”. When we were born and still innocent of the world’s training, we didn’t have any opinions about the colour of someone’s eyes or if their hair was brushed and tidy or not. We were accepting and loving creations. However, since our original birthdays, we have learned all of what we have come to be, from our life’s experiences – from someone or something. And a lot of what has ripped us away from our natural state of being has been as a result of painful experiences in our lives – when we have felt betrayed or hurt by people that were judging us or who no longer seemed to care about us because of what they themselves had been through. It’s so contagious! We unknowingly and naively lost our innocence, peacefulness and non-judgmental way of just being. Especially in our young and vulnerable years, we are just like sponges, sopping up everything around us. And then unfortunately, somewhere along the line, what we are innocently taught by the rest of the world becomes our beliefs, our way of being and thinking.
Katie says “the person could be a saint until I attach my story to them“. After that they could turn in to a monster just because I am believing the crazy random thoughts running through my mind. Each person in my life is who I have made them to be and I love that I always, since starting to wake up myself, choose to see only beautiful and loving people. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not making up lies in my head about people so that I can see them as good and amazing beings, but I always make a conscious effort to see the good that we all have inside of us and build on that. I mean the amazing truth is at the core of all of us, we are loving and peaceful beings and it gets covered up and buried so deeply as we walk through this world of tormented souls and fill ourselves up with pain.
And then, as a result of me seeing the goodness in everyone, more good things happen. When people in your life feel cared about by you and know that you are not judging them or thinking that they need to be better than they are or that you always have to agree with them on things, the paradox is that they begin to become better people. When one feels that someone cares, it just automatically follows that you want to be better and do better because you want to be deserving of that love that you are receiving. Talk about an added bonus, it’s amazing what one can do when love is in their life.
A word of caution though – when you come across others who are having a rough time and are busy making negative judgments about someone, it is not necessarily the right time to tell them that they shouldn’t be doing that. Or that they shouldn’t think ill of others. They will not be receptive to your good intention to help them to stop their self-induced suffering. When people are feeling hurt by others or according to their own thoughts and beliefs, they believe that someone should be living life according to their rules, they are in pain themselves. Most likely at that time, they just need your support and validation and they just need to feel heard. You can help them to see a better way of being, simply by leading by example. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that1. It’s definitely not about choosing sides – there are no sides in a round world2.
Do I need love to survive? What is self love?
I need love of myself to survive and when you have that, love from others will happen automatically. I know for years, I would think to myself, what does it mean to love myself? I had no idea how to love myself and I knew it couldn’t be forced because I had tried. But now it seems to me it’s more about making sure to give yourself anything and everything that you possibly can. And not just necessarily material things although we are certainly entitled to them too. It’s the emotional things that matter the most. Allow yourself to be sad when you are sad. Allow yourself to have times of not doing anything productive for as long as you don’t feel like doing anything. Stop with believing the thoughts like geez, I shouldn’t be so lazy or crap, I should not have eaten so much chocolate. Not only do we not enjoy our downtime, or the scrumptious chocolates that we just devoured, but even as we are having the experience, we are busy with our negative inner chat, beating ourselves up and missing the full impact of the experience that we could have had. And the interesting thing is then we just want more down time and more chocolates. 🤪
It is also important to note that we as human beings are naturally drawn to happy, healthy people. Who wants to be around miserable, self destructive people for any length of time? So when you are good to yourself first and foremost, then you are good to, and for everyone else. I have to also say, that when you are happy and whole, you are not as affected by people that might be cranky, upset, sad and/or depressed. You have filled yourself up so full of joy and happiness that when you encounter others that are still struggling to get there, you only have empathy and compassion for others. For me, I want to just hug and hold people that are sad and suffering because I can vividly remember how it feels to be in a dark, dark place, and my heart opens to them because I remember how painful it could be. But when you are on journey to get away from your own pain, you do not yet have the energy or the wherewithal to be in the presence of other people in pain so we leave them and find the happy people.
This is what love is to me.
I guess the bottom line for me is live and let live, let go and let God.
I think that we can all agree that people in our lives come and go non-stop (unless of course you have chosen to be a hermit and have removed yourself from civilization). I know it’s been that way for me since 1950. It is not my business or my right, and truth be known, I don’t have the power to control another human being. It’s just an endless journey to an unhappy and unenjoyable state of existence to believe that that’s what I am supposed to do. And I know it is no coincidence3 who presents themselves to me and when. It’s nothing short of a privilege and blessing when ever anyone pops in to my life whether they have been in my life for ages or I only get to see them for a few moments and never again. I have noticed that in all my years of being so far, that when I really, really need someone to be there, seemingly out of the blue, someone shows up and when I am ok again, they seem to move on. It’s always my opportunity to be the most loving and compassionate person I know how to be and I never want to miss an opportunity. Because in the end, I guess I am a selfish person, because loving and caring for others makes me feel wonderful and I love feeling good!
This is what love is to me. What’s your definition of love? What does it mean to you? I would love to hear your thoughts and learn from your knowledge, wisdom and life’s experiences so please leave me a comment below, or email me or text me if you would like to keep it private. Until next time, onward and upward…