As Valentine’s Day approaches I find myself thinking a lot about “love”. That one word has so many different meanings because it stirs up so many different feelings in people. We all have experienced love in various forms. The love of a friend, a child, a family member, a lover, a thing, a favorite place…but, the common thread is how these things we love make us feel. Usually, when we say we love someone or something, it’s because it makes us feel good. When we feel the essence of love, we feel good and in the absence of love we feel bad. Unfortunately for most of us the feeling of love gets so distorted by our upbringing that we get confused about what love really means. We can get trapped into the belief that love is a concept in the mind instead of a feeling in the heart. It can become confusing at times. We all have heard our parents say in anger or frustration, “Don’t you know I love you!” when they don’t like something we did or didn’t do. When really, there’s no love in that moment. And what does this teach us about love?
I believe that we are all born with an innate love of self. We come in with a sense of worth just because we are born. And somewhere along the way that innate love gets kicked out of us by parents and a society that forgot how to love themselves. They often take their own feelings of inadequacy and pass it on to their child unknowingly. We learn that love is conditional. If you do this good thing you deserve my love, if you don’t do this thing, I will withhold my love and tell you that you don’t deserve. But, stop and think, how does that feel?
What if we flipped the way we understand love on its head?
What if remembering our innate love of self regardless of outer circumstances or people was the key to feeling good more of the time? I recently had a personal experience that brought this concept to the forefront. I lost my cool, fought through some fears and told someone exactly how I felt with no filter. At first, I was totally unnerved but after it was over, I felt an inner sense of peace because I spoke my Truth. And no, I did not receive a response I wanted but got the one I needed.
I got the one that made me dig deep into myself to find my inner sense of love with no conditions. It was freeing. What if we could let everyone else off the hook and declare, my happiness depends on me and not what you do or don’t do for me! When we cultivate the love of self, we begin to remember our innate self-worth and let go of the fears that block love. Then, a magnetic thing begins to happen. Because we start to honor that essence of love inside ourselves, others feel that, and that love is like a force field that brings out the love in them. It draws out their personal best. To me, this is true love. Seeing beyond the outer shell and defenses that we all built up to protect ourselves and decide to choose to love from an inner knowing that we are all worthy of love.
There’s a quote from the movie The Notebook that sums it up for me:
“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more. It plants a fire in our heart and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I hope to give to you forever.”
To me, this is soul to soul love. It’s trusting in the heart and in your intuition. This is what my recent experience showed me. It was a gift. When I feel into this and choose love in this way I’m filled with comfort. All bonds of negativity break and what’s left is a sense that love is the essence of Truth, the glue that binds us all together. When we decide to look past the hard-outer shell and look inside, we find our true worth. When we decide that we are enough we stop pressuring others to fill a void inside us. Loving others for what they can do for us is so loaded with fear. When we cultivate an inner love of self, we no longer look to others to be filled up. Our relationships become a reflection of freedom instead of bonds of fear. What the heart knows, the mind often blots out. Listen to what your heart is whispering to you, hear the inner voice of self-love and tell the fear voices in your mind to take a back seat. And ALLOW the love that lives inside of you to guide you.