I must confess that the more I learn about love, the more ill-equipped I feel to comment or talk about it. I am ashamed of my own inadequacies and inability to love with a pure love that is unconditional and unfettered in selfishness. And yet I am also in awe of my deep craving for someone’s fingers to intertwine with mine as we whisper forever to each other.
So, I am by no means an expert on this subject. I am, however, becoming an expert on the heart, especially my own and all the beauty and mess that lives there.
I have given up fighting the fact that I will always be a fool for things that bubble with life. Things like a job that sets your heart on fire with purpose and makes you leap out of bed every morning; a confidence that is sure-footed, steady and balanced tethering neither to the left nor to the right; relationships that are abuzz and overflowing with luxurious abundance; and love, love, love.
But as I have learned, things that bubble with life require some form of work. Love, too.
Anyone who walks into a relationship with their eyes closed expecting it to be easy might be disappointed…and so, so heartbroken. Things in relationships – any relationship for that matter – don’t always go according to plan.
Relationships don’t work themselves out. Nor does love. It’s a powerful thing, love, but we mess it up when we come along. Because we are imperfect. But this should never be an excuse. The aim is to try and get it right. And that always begins somewhere.
Everyone loves differently and receives love differently. We are all not milk in a claypot. Some of us are the clay, and some of us are the milk.
My kind of love is the kind that is deep and nourishing; the kind of conversations knee deep in heart and soul; of checking up on me just because you can; loving me thoughtfully in words and actions. I respond to detailed simplicity – extra hot, hot chocolate in a red mug; shared silence on a park bench; a squeeze of the hand; sunset kisses; and hugs; big, warm and wonderful hugs.
One of the things I struggled with in the past was knowing for sure that a friend or anyone else who said they loved me really meant it especially when it didn’t quite feel like love to me.
And so I found myself telling myself to let people love me the way they wanted to love me. This is fine, I suppose. But there is something even better…communicating what love feels like to me.
Unmet expectations or needs are the life-choker of relationships. But there is something even worse than these formidable enemies – unarticulated needs and expectations that could be met or negotiated if spoken. Unsaid expectations can leave you feeling unsure of someone’s heart towards you if the way that they’re loving you doesn’t actually feel like love to you.
In this case, talk is not cheap; it is a life-line.
And it starts with you. Learn what feels like love to your person – friend, lover, family member – and then “get good at it”. And then share what your kind of love is with them.
There is nothing wrong with feeling loved the way you want to be loved. There is everything right with it. Expect imperfections but be assured that your relationships will thrive with communicated honesty and vulnerability about expectations.
Remember it starts with you, not the other person. Learn how they feel loved first.
And when and if their love doesn’t feel like love to you, say it. Start the conversation. Try.
And then maybe you and I can start a love revolution.