What is Your Threshold for Love?

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
-Mother Teresa

Life is inspiring; or should I say it can be. The seemingly cold depths of February are actually a period of thawing before the coming of spring.  We may feel as though we are enmeshed in cold and snow, but underneath the surface life is full of vigor, vitality, and new growth.

I personally find February a difficult month. When I was in high school, I found I was frequently melancholy and it disturbed me until I one day realized that I get this way every February. It is like I have an internal threshold of tolerance for cold and shorter periods of light. By the time February rolls around, my tolerance has expired. I am ready for spring. Yet, we have at least one more full month of cold and dreary weather.

We all have internal thresholds for things. We even have internal thresholds for happiness and love. In an unconscious way, we have internalized our parents and our parent’s parent’s capacity for love and happiness. How they lived, what traumas they endured, their extent of happiness and expressed love impacts us dramatically.

If our parents were depressed or melancholy, if they divorced, if they were bitter and sad, if they were or one of them was unsuccessful, I find us, as their offspring feel and do things similarly. So when we are doing well and feeling good and are happy or happily married or love our jobs, sometimes we then sabotage our feelings out of an unconscious or blind way of staying and being like our families.

This can also be expressed through our belief systems like: I don’t believe in marriage, or I don’t want children, or I don’t believe in happiness, or what is love or happiness anyway?

Separating ourselves from these beliefs and from our parent’s experiences and feelings can be difficult. It begins with first recognizing we have a problem with something; happiness, love, or whatever makes sense for our life experiences.

For myself, through my melancholy during the winter months, I invite my melancholy to be nearer to me. Suddenly I remember things about my mother that I had consciously forgotten. She often was depressed or melancholy. I felt trapped in winter in my home when it was more difficult to go outside. My mom was in bed every day when I got home from school, and didn’t get up until it was time to make dinner. I looked for reasons to go out and do things. I didn’t like being at home in a dark and lonely place.

As winter descends upon us and I find myself drawing into myself, I invite these feelings closer, and I hold them by my bosom. I love them; these difficult feelings. I sit down by an infrared heater overlooking a window, next to my dogs, as things that resource me, and I write out my feelings. I develop outlets for how I feel. Soon I find myself enjoying myself. I stop and pet my dogs, and look out the window. I realize that I am feeling happy.

Then, I start to feel bad again about something; so and so said such and such, so and so isn’t interested in visiting, etc. Then the biggest step, I stop myself from such thinking as I realize this way of thinking does nothing for feeling good and loving myself. In fact it takes the good feelings away.

My mother couldn’t overcome in her lifetime her own inner threshold for happiness. Her mother was more depressed than she. So I start over and invite these feelings to my bosom and love myself. What I am doing is engaging in an inner process of overcoming my internal threshold for happiness.

We can all do this process. The first step, as always, is in recognizing that we are in fact stopping ourselves from doing and being more than we internally feel we should or can. Great love is possible, and it starts as always, with loving ourselves.

Shift Your Story, Shift Your Life:

Let’s do this process together:

Ask yourself is there some internal threshold to feeling good or to loving you? Do you stop yourself from feeling good or loving yourself or someone else? When does this happen? Who does this happen with?

Bring this realization closer to you. Whatever you are feeling - sad, lost, unhappy, angry, depressed - hold those feelings next to your bosom.

Surround yourself with things that resource you and make you feel good. See what memories or thoughts come up for you. Stay with these good or better feelings as long as possible. Pay attention to what draws you out of these feelings, or when you are drawn out of them.

Start the process over.

It is amazing how this process works if we can let it and let ourselves feel good when maybe our parents or their parents couldn’t. Yet, this increasing of our internal thresholds is a great way to give a legacy to future generations. Love fully!

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