The Courage to Love

I always wanted to be happy.  I also always knew that love was amazing and something that I desperately wanted, but it always seemed to be beyond my capabilities.

I had no idea that it takes courage for both.

Why would one need to have courage for something universally sought after?  I have found that it takes courage to receive the blessings that come with love and happiness.

Often love is reduced to a business agreement.  “You do this for me, and I’ll do this for you.”  That is not love.  When we keep score, it is based on the 50/50 paradigm of business.  Love is 100/100.  The first time I heard that, I was shocked.  It meant I no longer got to keep score.  It was the end of feeling justified in self-righteousness when things “weren’t fair.”

If I am going to show up as a true and loving partner, it means that I contribute my all without looking for gain.  Gratefully, I did the work necessary to attract and choose a partner who also takes care of himself and therefore is able to contribute his all.

When my husband. Vj, and I were first falling in love, he had to teach me how to be loved.  I was very surprised by this.  I had to shift from the position of taker to one who receives.  When I relaxed and made sure that my basic needs were met (enough food, water, sleep, and faith) I was in a position to allow him to love me.  Before that, I had been in a pattern of self-sufficiency that was based on survival instincts.  The old me was warped with control-freakish behavior that was painful to watch and even worse to live.

Slowly, I relinquished the illusion of control. That is the big joke about control freaks: they are trying to control the uncontrollable.  As I began to relax, I allowed the love to flow in.  The sensation overwhelmed me to the point where I had to seek yogic help to boost my nervous system and learn to deepen my meditation (active receiving).

Falling in love takes guts because it is a leap of faith into the unknown.  The thing that I always thought I could safeguard myself against was heartache.  Well, if I am participating in love, I get heartache.  Whether we mean to or not, when we are intimately intertwined with someone (even friends and family), we can hurt others.

What I do with that hurt now is:

1.    I learn from it.  What could I have done differently?
2.    Did I play a major or minor role?  The answer is always “yes.”
3.    I talk about it.  Is there something that needs to be said?  Can I do so compassionately?
4.    Forgive myself and others.  What message was I meant to get or give?

I am far from perfect.  I recently hurt someone’s feelings.  It was not intentional, but I was unskillful and someone got hurt. So I did the above checklist in a way that was appropriate for the situation and moved on.

This trust in love (of all shapes and manifestations) is a dance.  I still catch myself trying to control that which cannot be controlled.  When I do, I get the chime of discomfort that reminds me to take a breath and relax.

Your Assignment:

Is there someone that you hurt (unwittingly or not) that needs your care?  Can you apply the above steps in a way that is appropriate and mend a bridge?  Are you willing to have courage enough to love yourself and others?

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