What Is Love?

“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.”

                                                                                -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Everyone wants to fall in love and experience the fullness of love, but not everyone believes that they are loveable or deserve love. Not everyone realizes that we love in a way that we have been loved and in a way that we love ourselves.

For those reasons and more, falling and being in love also stirs up our unresolved “stuff”. Yet falling in love and being in love and loving another gives us an opportunity to face and resolve old family issues. As we do so, we regain our strength and a sense of wholeness and vitality in our lives.

Loving gives us the opportunity to work on that old “stuff” as we experience life with and through another’s eyes. If we don’t really feel we deserve to be loved, when we are loved somewhere inside we might feel like “what is wrong with them that they love me?”

Sometimes we choose partners that stir up and remind us of our old feelings with our mother or father, and we repeat the same cycle we experienced when we were young and traumatized by events between our parents.  An example of this is when we find we marry someone who is not really available to us and we divorce after the same number of years that our parent’s were married. In our young lives, either mom or dad wasn’t available to the other parent also. I have even seen it where our children are the same age we were when our parents divorced.

On a deeper level, loving another helps us to love ourselves and allows us to reconcile with our first loves; our mother and father. I worked with a man who was in great distress. As I spoke with him he expressed how he had lost his job, lost his marriage, and is afraid he will also lose the love of his children. His children were the same age he was when his parent’s separated. His mother was unavailable to his father. His father married a wounded bird to “save” and couldn’t, and eventually left his mom. His mom was so angry with her husband that her oldest son, my client, stepped in to help mom and was angry with dad for her.

In fact, he too loved his father, and was also angry with his dad for leaving. He was in the middle between his parents and took his mother’s side and blamed dad for leaving.

Dad was also a workaholic, very successful, and later lost everything and became bankrupt. His son, my client, went through the same cycle as his father. He married a “wounded bird” who was unavailable to him. When his children were the same ages as he and his siblings, his marriage broke up, and he lost his business.

Often when we reach bottom, we become open to help in a way we couldn’t be when things felt like they were “working”. As he and I spoke and worked together, I helped him to see that he actually really loved his father, and really yearned for him. In fact he needed his father. He also began to realize that part of his anger towards his dad was his carrying his mother’s anger towards him. He was so loyal to his mother who was depressed and needed her son that he couldn’t see that a large part of his rejection of his father came from that misplaced loyalty. He needed his dad’s love and support to help him move from this difficult place.

I asked him to contact his father and tell him that he in fact did love him, and that he is sorry for rejecting him. That was a difficult statement for him to hear and took him awhile to realize the truth in it.

He later contacted me and told me he was able to make that phone call, and it was a very emotional and healing one for him. By his realizing this truth and by admitting how much he really loved his dad and needed him, he took a big step in loving himself and in the first steps of healing his life.

Healing his life is also a giant step in helping his children. Love is very powerful, and loving another is so dependent on how much we have healed or reconciled with our relationship with our parents. When we can do that, we can reclaim a part of ourselves, our wholeness and our vitality.

Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results:

I recommend that in the morning before you start your day, or in the evening before bed, you take about 10 minutes to sit and reflect and write down:

1. Who you love, including yourself
2. Who you have loved in your life
3. Who you presently struggle with
4. Who you hate, if anyone

Next, write down:

1. How your relationship was with your mom
2. How your relationship was with your dad
3. How your relationship is with your children, your partner, or yourself; this is your choice which you would like to concentrate on

Lastly write down:

1. What, if any, are the connections you see between who you love and hate, and how your relationships are and were with your parents, your self, etc?  Really take the time to look at the relationships between the first two exercises; in other words, put the two together and just look at your answers and see what this stirs up inside of you.

On the surface this is a simple exercise, but I have seen how much we can learn from doing it. The purpose is not to judge, but to see. The more we can see our truths, the greater our capacity for love of ourselves and others.

Recommended Resources:

One of the resources I offer in my work is opportunity for mentoring, and also for a body presencing session. To learn more about these offerings, go to my web site, www.bodypresencing.com. Click on Body Presencing, and also Events, where you can scroll down to mentoring, and click on mentoring.

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