Love is a verb. I don’t mean that love is always hard work, or that love can only exist when you have to try really hard. But I do mean that it is not always easy to love or to have to deal with love. Still vague? Just continue reading!
Love for yourself
To experience love starts with loving yourself. You don’t have to watch yourself in the mirror all day to love yourself. It doesn’t have anything to do with vanity or narcissism. It is about accepting who you are, but also about expecting things of yourself. You just can’t change everything about yourself, but you also can’t always say, “Well, that’s just the way I am, deal with it”. Not towards yourself, also not towards others. To feel love for yourself is a balancing act between accepting what is, (and learn to smile about that) and looking for ways to change and improve yourself. Often people think: If I first learn all these things and become a better person, then afterwards I’ll learn to love myself. But it really works the other way around. Until you appreciate yourself as a person, you cannot really take in the life lessons that cross your path. So, I promise: you are exactly right the way you are right now! You only have to start believing that!
Love for someone else
Love for another person, romantic love, or love between a parent and a child, starts with loving yourself. If you don’t like who you are, it is hard to give another person what they need. People often take very good care of other people, because it gives them a feeling of worthiness. There is nothing wrong with taking good care of others. I applaud that, but only feeling good as a person when someone else needs you is not a good thing. So, I would suggest you make sure that you have time to yourself (take a bath, a walk, go to the movies with a dear friend). That is one of the best ways to be able to care for others!
I once asked someone who had been married a long time what she thought was the success to her marriage. Her answer surprised me at first, but when I thought about it, it made perfect sense! She told me that you shouldn’t think that your romantic partner can fulfil all your needs. That puts way to much strain on a relationship. If your partner provides you with some of the things that are important to you (a good conversation, physical closeness, go to the gym together), then it is not a problem that you need friends for some cultural input or for dancing moves. Better even: this way you have something new and exiting to tell your partner when you get home in the evening! So take a close look at what you and your partner can give each other, and find other means to fulfil the needs that you cannot find in your relationship. This doesn’t have to include jealousy; it is a way of taking good care of yourself and of your partner!
Losing love: grief
And then the inevitable happens. Someone you love dearly passes away. Then you experience the backside of love. Grief is a reaction to losing something you love. This can also be losing your job, or your pet, and grief is tough! It is a phase in your life where your emotions sometimes completely take over. You don’t know what to do with yourself and whether or not these bad feelings will ever end.
Nobody wants to experience grief. But it’s good to realize that grief is a normal part of life. It shows how much you loved someone or something. It is also important to know that everyone grieves at their own pace and in their own way. There is no right or wrong recipe for grief. If you want to help someone who grieves, the best thing you can do is listen. Listen unconditionally. Listen without judgement. Listen with love!
So, love is a verb, but lets be honest, it is worth the work! Let me know what you think in the comment box below!
Cover image from Stocksnap