Becoming too good at love can be dangerous. Love is meant to be messy because you are wonderfully broken, completely incomplete. Don’t get me wrong, you can know love and understand it. You can become a better lover and better at loving yourself. But the risk happens when we think we have love all figured out.
Figuring out love is a little like understanding the nature of the soul. It is far deeper and more expansive than we know. But knowing a lot about the subject is not the same as knowing it. You can know a lot about love without knowing it. Trust me, I’ve been there. Love is a little like addiction and mental health recovery: sometimes you have to come to the end of yourself, and only then are you willing to meet love for the first time.
In an article I wrote on Are You Brave Enough to Love Yourself, I wrote:
Love both terrifies and it soothes. It can be weaponized or it can heal. It involves risk, vulnerability and can take you to the heights and to the depths, sometimes all in one relationship… and sometimes all in the same day.
It’s not that love is chaotic and dangerous. Love is so much a core of who we are and what we need that it gets into our souls. And soul work is unpredictable. Sometimes we can be arrogant in our careers or feel overconfident in our abilities. But arrogance and overconfidence doesn’t work in love. Love takes vulnerability and openness with yourself, and sometimes love is downright terrifying. Not because love is scary, but because in love, we see our real selves.
For a long time I avoided writing about love, because I thought of myself as a poor lover. Why explore something that brings you pain? But I have learned that loving yourself, and being in love, gives you the freedom to explore. I think that love is expansive enough that you can always learn something new about yourself.
Love matures you as you grow through it’s many phases. Over time, love should change because that is how it can change you.
Thinking that we understand all that there is to know about love is as dangerous as being closed off to love. Both extremes can close you off from other people (and from yourself). And when you are closed off, love begins to wither. Changing love is healthy love. Often, changing love can feel scary because we hope that love will be secure and unchanging, but there are few things in life that are truly unchanging.
What is unchanging about love is that it is available to each of us. I get that this can feel pretty empty for someone who is searching for love. You can always begin by loving yourself, because when you love yourself you become a more attractive person.
Sometimes our experience of love is unhealthy, or selfish, or shallow. What I have learned after half a century on the planet is that I know only a fraction of what love is all about. I am re-learning how to love myself and the journey is not what I expected. Love is not wheat fields and sunshine. Love is talking and it is sweating, it takes work and deep thinking. It is both action and affection. It begins inside of you and because of that, you can only give as much love as you are ready to receive.
Most of us are searching for love. If you Google search on the topic of “Love,” you will get almost 7 Billion hits… four times the number of hits that you get when you type in “God.” I think we get it on a subconscious level that God is Love. We are all in search of better love, new love and loving ourselves. Love and happiness are similar. If you have to move more than a few inches to feel happy, you will never experience it. Love is the same. Love begins with you.
Tolerating messy-love is where life gets really interesting. Love is big enough to take all of your messiness and it will mature you.
It is love that empowers and changes you. In believing that you are lovable… you become “Love-Able.” You can impact others only as far as you are willing to be loved.
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Keep it Real
Photo by Dalibor Tomic