This is dedicated to those unshifting hearts who've suffered so much that love is met with skepticism instead of a warm embrace. Sunny days are closer than you think!
With so many conceptualizations of love being stated, sometimes we all get lost in semantics and then eventually we get lost in our own thoughts. Out of frustration many of us stop seeking out true love and settle for the version of love in front of us right now. 'Right now' love, or a love contract entered into to flee from unwanted/uncomfortable emotions, such as sadness, loneliness, boredom, reassurance, depression, anxiety, and heartache is an illusion/shadow of what love truly is. Before I begin by telling you what love is, let's explore what love is not. . . . . . . .
Love is not based on what you can offer another person. Nor is it based on what they can offer you. Love is not a list of conditions and/or requirements you must meet in order to be worthy of love. To take that position would be to deny who we truly are, which is love itself. So what is the etiology of this common misconception/theoretical explication of love.
Typically, it is through those that claim to love us the most that introduce us to conditional love, our parents. Now I state this knowing this is not true for all but I have found this to be true for most I've had the pleasure of interacting with. Upon entering this world, we view our parents as the Ambassadors of Love. They are our superheroes. They know all, see all, and are our world. They are the shining (or dimming) example of what love is and should be to a child entering this world 'tabula rasa' or an empty slate. On this empty slate, our parents are those power forces that begin to paint how we should perceive the world. They teach us what to do, who they'd like us to be, what friends to make, what career we should have, what beauty looks like, and how to survive in a world of formal rules and informal rules/etiquette. And since language is mostly unspoken, the relationship our parents have with each other paints our perception of what a "loving relationship" looks like. Whether love actually exists in the relationship or not is irrelevant to a child attempting to explore life through the eyes of their parents. Whatever version of love we are exposed to is typically the conceptualization of love we endorse. Herein is buried the catalyst for so much confusion and pain.
"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding." - Kahlil Gibran
Our "loved ones" tell us they love us and then, that love is withdrawn when we no longer do what is asked (if you have kind parents) or demanded of us, thus creating the fallacy that love is based on conditions. The message received by many of us is, "I love you . . . . . as long as you make me happy by doing what I say." Of course, this is not the intent for most parents who truly love their children, but this is the message that is received. We are introduced to a love that is conditional and rewards and/or punishes based on whether our behaviors are approved by those who we would seek love from. The conclusion drawn is, "in order to be loved, I must . . . . ." We then grow to become adults who bring this same philosophy into our professional and personal relationships, even our marriages. This harmful thinking is the source of so much pain and tears. I've counseled those whose hearts have been broken by their loved ones, parents, romantic partners, siblings, and so on. One thing stands out most in victims of conditional love, internalized oppression, which is an adaptation made to an illusion of love that is oppressive and based on conditions. Oppression becomes internalized when the person being oppressed begins to see themselves in the same light as their oppressor. They no longer look in the mirror and see themselves but a reflection of themselves through the eyes of others. The mind, being the most powerful tool we possess, begins to work against us by ensuring our self-image is congruent with the messages we receive from the outside world, especially those we love the most. Others' voices become so loud in our minds that they no longer need to be present to punish/reward us. We, after coming into this world tabula rasa, have been so well-trained by those we love that we now punish ourselves. We punish ourselves for being too . . . . fat, slim, old, young, dark, light, smart, shy, ugly, scarred, unsuccessful, unattractive, and the list continues. We no longer need an oppressor because we've become the masters of our own oppression. No one can punish us better than we punish ourselves. No one can hate us better than we hate ourselves. We say "it's my fault I was cheated on. It's my fault I don't have friends. It's something I did that makes others not love me like I love them. I didn't do enough to show them I deserve their love. I didn't perform to the level needed to receive their approval and so I suffer because I deserve it." Depression, anxiety, and maybe even thoughts of death soon follow. This is the product of a fallacy of love rooted and clothed in fear. This is not love!
I will tell you something that may take some time to digest. It may make you uncomfortable, not because it is untrue, but because it is total truth. It is a truth that is foreign to what we've been told. Because of this and the mind's natural tendency towards neophobia, it will cause discomfort to hear/read. Love begins inside of you. You must love yourself. When you love yourself first, it sends out a powerful message to all of existence that love is welcomed in this place. All of existence responds by sending that love that already exists in you back to you, therefore, amplifying the love inside. Love is non-judgmental, non-critical, and not attached to expectations. Newton's third law states that "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Christianity tells you that "you reap what you sow." In Buddhism, you'll find the word 'Karma' to represent this universal truth. So if you must act, act in love. If you must sow, sow seeds of love. If you endorse the spiritual prinicple of Karma, then send forth energies of love in all you say, do, and think and wait for your angelic messengers to return that love to you 100x over. No longer seek love from sources outside of yourself. All love is unconditional, or without conditions, including romantic relationships. The essence of who you are is love. You need no one's permission to be yourself. To seek out the approval of others is to forget who you are, who you truly are. You are love and L.ove I.s F.or E.veryone (LIFE). The only relevant question in all of existence is "What Would Love Do Now?"
"And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course." - Kahlil Gibran
Peace and Love Always
Harry J. Turner (Ade Anan)
Diverse Counseling Solutions, LLC
5261 Highland Rd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Phone: (225) 503-0055
Fax: (855) 587-9510
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