How to Love

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I’ve been thinking about this concept of unconditional love a lot lately. What does it really mean to love unconditionally?

With friends, family, dates, or co-workers, sometimes I catch myself hoping that people will respond and behave how I want them to, but we all know that that is not how life works. We cannot control other people, nor is it fair for us to expect them to behave exactly how we want them to. So what are we supposed to do about it? Quality and authentic relationships are meant to support, inspire, and empower us to be our best selves. However, we all know that they can also poke us in our bruised areas and bring our most intimate insecurities to the surface. That is why surrendering, compassion, and forgiveness are vital elements for healthy relationships. These elements do not mean that we let people walk all over us; boundaries are necessary too and communicating our boundaries becomes easier when we are able to love and accept ourselves first.

Another important question we need to ask ourselves is what, if anything, are we trying to get from this relationship? Without realizing it, a lot of us are seeking to get something from people and this can be dangerous if we are seeking validation or looking to follow a superficial agenda.

Last night I watched this video on YouTube that blew my mind. It is called “People Love at Their Level of Consciousness” from Eckhart Tolle. I HIGHLY recommend watching this video to everyone. It is especially enlightening if you are looking to understand feelings of hurt and it touches upon how pain can be passed from one family generation to the next, if someone isn’t willing to awaken themselves and stop the pattern from continuing on. This is not easy stuff. It is like moving boulders within yourself and you’ll have to dive deeply inwards to get in touch with the sadness, anger, and whatever else might be present in order to release these emotions. However, this heavy-lifting inner work is crucial if we are to let go of old hurt stories so that we can carve a new path of love and peace for ourselves moving forward.

And it is so damn true…people can only love us from the level of consciousness they’re at. Unfortunately this means that we will not always receive the love we crave, the love we so dearly want. Most of the time, the ways in which people express their love to us or lack thereof, do not meet our expectations. That is the reality of life, love, and relationships. That doesn’t mean people can’t change with time or that your relationship with someone won’t evolve, but it does mean that we can’t ask more of a person than they are willing to give us at the moment. The question is…can we learn and choose to love people regardless of their level of consciousness, without expectation, and embrace people where they’re at in life?

Last thing, in dating I’ve noticed that there’s this “Keep your guard up” warning for girls and probably guys too, to protect ourselves from getting hurt. I’m not saying that every person you date deserves to hear your deepest stories, because I firmly believe that vulnerability requires the correct audience, people who will honor and hold your stories sacred, BUT in relationships and in life, there is no reward without taking a risk. Life is too short to not go all in. You might get rejected or your feelings might not be reciprocated, but that pain will not be nearly as painful as the pain you would feel if you didn’t speak from your heart and kept wondering what could have happened if you had taken a leap of faith. The walls that we put up to protect ourselves are the walls that are blocking our blessings. We must push forward in faith, not fear.

And no matter what ensues in our relationships, the greatest investment we can make is to invest in loving ourselves and pouring forth that love we so dearly crave from others, into ourselves. When we do this, it makes it easier for people to love us too.

“Do not chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing, and work hard. The right people—the ones who really belong in your life—will come to you and stay.”

-Will Smith

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