Publisher - February 2019
God wasn’t having a bad day
when He made you!
Since love is what makes the world go around, I don’t feel bad about adding one more article about love to the February writer’s love fest. After all, love is serious, as it truly is the eternal burning fuel that illuminates humanity.
I believe we come to earth for one purpose: To love. Everything we do while here is a journey to discover a deeper meaning of that purpose and evolve as beings through love.
Newly single, I attended four weddings last fall. Surprisingly, most of them were not my friends’ adult children tying the knot, but were my friends remarrying. I am happy for them. Truly. However, as I witnessed the “I Do’s,” my heart was whispering, “Don’t do it.”
That’s when I new it was time to renovate, and now my heart is temporarily under construction, albeit remaining open during the process. I did not know there were so many levels of healing when one goes through a breakup. I have worked hard to heal, but realized last fall, I was having trouble believing in romantic love. This is not who I want to be; I adore love and all the wonderful things that come with it. Love is life’s greatest gift, and my plan is to open my life and my self to it fully. I have no intentions of missing out.
For me it’s simple. A two-step renovation:
Step 1: Re-establish what love is (and what it isn’t): It’s easy to lose sight of what is important and begin loving in auxiliary mode, which is sculpted by a compilation of all our personal life experiences. In this mode, we get caught up in things, such as: Who’s right; who did more; who deserves more; who’s got more; etc. None of these things are love. If love is given based on a person’s daily performance, a heart renovation is imperative. This kind of “love” will never fill up the soul with vibrant joy or deep connection. Not yours, nor theirs.
I had to remind myself and study what love truly is and what it could possibly look like in a future romantic relationship (for me AND for him). I also studied and analyzed what it looks like right now with my children, my mother, my extended family, my staff, my friends and everyone important to me. To do this, I went to the original authority on THE guidelines for love. Here is the definition:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. —I Corinthians 13: 4-7
These words are pure. We will not love perfectly all the time, but by knowing the guidelines, there is a better chance of love staying true, kind, and, well… loving on all fronts. On the flipside, these words are also intimidating. Is it possible to love—and be loved—to this standard in today’s cynical world, which seems to be fueled by things—fear, hatred, jealousy, greed, lies, and lust—that are the opposite of love?
That stuff has always been around, and love is more powerful than all of it combined. Love conquers ALL…if you let it.
Step 2: Learn to receive love: One would think being loved is easy. Well, it’s not for a lot of people. This stage was set early in life for me. Like many, I had parents who didn’t tell me they loved me, and a sibling, who would have preferred I wasn’t born. I don’t remember a lot of hugs or kisses, but my mom would pat my cheek. I do this to my kids (yes, even though they are in their 20s), and it means love to me. I don’t want to tear my childhood down, mainly because I love my parents very much, and they did the best they could at the time. I consider my childhood as the best of times, and the worst of times, and that’s probably what most children, who grew up in the ‘70s, experienced. Nonetheless, here I am at middle age, learning to be fully loved. I think I’m doing a pretty good job, too!
For me, the first step—truly the only step necessary to learn this lesson—is I finally fell in love with myself. Doing this solves everything. It takes away fear, lessens vulnerability, adds happiness and confidence. Loving yourself is like having a foolproof safety net. Real talk: Loving yourself is a superpower!
Why did it take me this long? I had a lot of insidious beliefs to un-believe. What negatives have you been told along the way and still hang onto as truth? Counseling, meditation, prayer, journaling, Bible study, talking with friends, beach walking, life coaching, candid conversations, reading and getting real with yourself in any of these modalities are all ways to disintegrate deep-seeded negativity, which is the barrier to self-love.
I ask myself poet Mary Oliver’s question daily: What do you want to do with your ONE wild and precious life? It only makes sense the next question would be: How do you want to be during your ONE wild and precious life? My answer: Loving.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Love the one you’re with…that includes you.