Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other. – Carl Jung
For many of us, love is an elusive thing. Oddly enough, as there is no shortage of it in the universe. We enter into relationships – with a romantic companion, with friends, with our family members, and, yet, maybe we have love and maybe we don’t. Or maybe we are not even sure.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what love is, what love isn’t and how you fill your life with it. Assuming that the love is directed at another person (although you can also direct love towards other things, for instance, the work that you do) here are my ideas:
- Love has no expectations – Sometimes we look to other people, and see what they can do for us, how they might be of value to us, but when we love we don’t need something from the other person. We simply want to love them because of who they are.
- Love is whole – When we love someone, we love all of them, not just certain parts. We actually appreciate and have affection for the whole person, good and bad, because that makes them who they are.
- Love is not a competition – We don’t have to pit our needs against the needs of our loved one. Your own desires are no different than the desires you have for them. This is not an either/or situation, it’s an and/both.
- Love is not a distraction or an amusement – Love isn’t about your own amusement and it’s not a distraction from situations in your life. Love is its own end. You love for love’s sake, not to create a favorable circumstance for yourself. Then you are using love towards another end.
- Love is not about you…or the other person – It is simply about Love itself. When you enter into a relationship with another, remember to create a space for Love. That bonds you to the other person and puts the relationship on the right track. Love first.
- Love does not need to control – Love allows things to be as they are. Love does not need to control people or situations. Love has no conditions.
- Love grows – The nature of love is to grow over time. Time and Love are very good friends. Sometimes it can seem that love diminishes over time, but really Love is simply shedding it’s external wrapper of intense attraction. What is left when these things leave is a substance that bonds people together with all the strength of concrete and the flexibility of rubber.
- Love is open – To both giving and receiving. Love can not circulate through closed doors!
I would love (no pun intended!) to say that I have been practicing these things faithfully all along, but in reality I have been able to pick them out, because these were the things that I had trouble grasping. There are many false imitations of love, and the real thing can actually be difficult to spot. But when I think about the relationships that are truly filled with love in my life, the basics of what love is stand out to me boldly.
As far as bringing love into your life goes, first you have to recognize what it is and what it is not. (You probably have a few examples from your own life as to what it is not!) This has been the place where I often stumble in my own life.
Once you know how to recognize it, how do you invite it into your life? I will leave that to you. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!