Real Lesson On Love

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. – Michael Masser & Linda Creed (Songwriters)  

This is a common saying among our culture. And it’s true that self love is something we as a society/culture struggle to learn. However, I believe the most significant love lessons are those directed towards others.

You see when we love someone, be it a lover, a friend, or a relative, there is an inward pleasure that comes from giving and sharing the love that is inside of us. Humans are made to give, receive and share love. It’s a natural interconnecting and cyclical exchange which gives us purpose beyond ourselves. Love, being an action word, causes movement and pushes us past mere self interest. It involves sacrifice. Love says, “I will give my child the one piece of bread in the house and I will go hungry.” Or, “I will buy my lover an outfit, or his favorite cologne with my spending money instead of buying something for myself.”

You know the funny thing about love? Is that the so called sacrifice actually becomes pleasurable. There is no real suffering when your mind and heart are motivated to give. The satisfaction on the inside from giving to the object of your affection is reward enough. It’s easy!

Love will make you do right. Love will make you do wrong. Make you come home early. Make you stay out all night long. – Al Green

But what happens when the one you love doesn’t love you? What happens when the child you loved, raised and provided for rejects you? What happens when the friend you love betrays you? What happens when your lover cheats and breaks their promises. What happens to your love then?

Love is an investment of the heart. It requires intimacy and vulnerability. Vulnerability carries with it the potential of great pain. Pain causes grief. Anger is one of the 5 stages of grief. (along with denial, bargaining, and depression…) Acceptance is the last of the 5 stages.

If she is amazing, she won’t be easy.  If she is easy, she won’t be amazing. If she is worth it you won’t give up. If you give up you’re not worthy… Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley

When someone you love causes you to experience the 5 stages, this is the ultimate test of whether love is real. It’s easy to love when love is requited. But when it’s not, when the one you love isn’t going to return that love, or for that matter do the opposite of what you desire he/she does, and you achieve acceptance granting them their wish, then you will know that your love is truly love.

And this is the secret of love as well as some of the most important lessons we will learn in life. True enlightenment can’t be learned in a book. Ideas may start in theory but they aren’t anything but philosophies and mental treaties until you walk the walk. In this case, when your loved one puts you through hell and back, is performing at their worst, or is in a position to offer you nothing and yet you continue to love, then the true lessons of love have been achieved.

I always knew this in ‘theory.’ As a matter of fact, I have prided myself on loving the important people in my life when they are at their worst. After all, that’s when love is needed the most. I’ve proclaimed it and desired that same kind of love for myself. We all need that kind of love. I’m glad to say that I have both given and experienced this love beyond theory. Neither side of it was pretty or easy. But they were both real. To me, this is the greatest love of all.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. –John 15:13

 

 

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She (Great Intimacy, Great Risk, Great Love)

Great Intimacy, Great Risk, Great Love;
One thing about receiving true love that I have found to be true is that we cannot experience it unless our hearts are truly and totally open to receiving it. This is generally a difficult thing to do because we naturally tend to self protect. Well, actually we don’t start out self protecting. If we are blessed to have loving relationships from the beginning at birth, certainly this infant is not shy at all about any form of self expression. The infant isn’t scared to be open about it’s needs and desires.  It’s only after rejection do we begin to put up defenses.
As we get older and experience life, disappointment, or betrayal we tend to develop as a survival tool the ability to open little cracks here and there of ourselves.  We learn what we are comfortable with exposing and during that process especially early on we stand ready with the proverbial STOP button when something doesn’t feel right about it.  Some things may hurt a little or piss us off. But the button kicks into gear with phrases like, “I knew this was going to happen.” This just adds another chink to the heart armor and take that suit to the next encounter.
Well, it is only when I take off my suit of armor do I receive this gift.  I must open myself up, my heart, my conscious.  And I leave nothing in the way of protection or survival.  I must trust her with my heart.  As life goes on I’ll learn how this looks as we experience new adventures giving us opportunities to develop character within our relationship.  I want the best intimacy that God/The Universe has to offer.  And though we are fully grown adults, full of love and experience… experience that I expect us to use in wisdom to help us grow; still I must give her all of me so that she can give me her wonderful unconditional love and acceptance.  That she can embrace me in all of my glory, and all of my shortcomings.  To know that I am never judged, but I am always loved to the bitter end. This kind of love inspires me to be better and reach all of my potential. 
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When I played sports. I was very competitive. And there were times when coaches or teammates were really forward in correcting something I did or didn’t do. Depending on how I felt about the coach or the teammate, revealed how I took that criticism.  If you had credibility in my life, then you can really get on me and I’ll receive it.  But even more so… is after that criticism, argument or fight I am the type of person that the more faith you express in me the more I am apt to accomplish even more than I thought I could on my own.  I am a person who loves to encourage by nature. And when the right people encouraged me, I go above and beyond because of my natural bent towards loyalty.  I believe in loyalty so much!  I’m happy to prove that confidence in me will be rewarded, not disappointed.  
So in relating this to such a precious friendship, relationship, bond, commitment promises, and covenant, she is to be my ultimate teammate, partner, life coach, intimate soulmate.  She has the credibility to teach, correct, adding input to my life, my character, my manhood.  She can challenge me in love and help make me to be all the man I need to be.  In turn, because my heart is open, because I trust her with me knowing that she will never leave, forsake or betray me, my only response is to take heed to her intelligence and insight, and work my ass off to earn her praise. Then as she praises me even unexpectedly, when I least expect it, I am humbled and blessed, thankful as I waddle in her love.  For you see she has my heart in her hands.  She is in charge of it.  She will keep it safe.  And I love her for taking on this heart of mine.