When I evaluate all of the pursuits available to man/woman kind, I believe that the very most fulfilling experience one can have in life is LOVING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING, ANIMAL, PLANT, ENVIRONMENT, SPIRITUAL BEING, AND ONE’S SELF.
I believe that certain keys are necessary to unlock the love that is within each human heart:
- The first key to experiencing love is to realize that we are designed to be social, on some level, and inter-dependent. We were not created to exist as isolated individuals. Our brains, our 5 basic senses, our hearts, our spirits respond to love and are stimulated by it. Unless we connect outside ourselves we will go through life merely “surviving alone” vs. “thriving” when we connect with others.
You can find examples of these differences in a garden: Some plants push their way to the surface on their own and forge a meager existence. More than likely, they are scrawny and lack beauty. Contrast that with flowers and plants that are tended by a loving gardener and you will see a robust garden that draws peoples’ attention and appreciation.
The more we share our hearts and gifts, the more we and our environments are blessed.
- The second key that opens the human heart to love is a willingness to risk rejection and failure. When we enter into a relationship with a person, an animal, a plant, a spiritual being, or one’s self, we run the risk that we will not be loved in return.
We must be willing to take the risk to love, no matter the outcome. There is an old saying, “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”
Many people are aware that they want love, but they are filled with so much fear about possible rejection that they remain isolated, trapped in their own inner prison. These people do not believe that they could survive rejection or failure.
Inherently, they do not trust themselves and their ability to rebound from the experience, learn the lessons available, and live to love again.
- The third key to experiencing love is the acceptance that love brings joy and happiness, as well as periods of pain and sadness. In truth, you cannot have only the positive aspects; you must learn to accept the full spectrum of emotions: love, joy, happiness, contentment, anger, disappointment, sadness, and possible loss and grief.
The best love relationships offer a balance: the good and easy to accept, as well as the difficult and challenging.
Ultimately, the most enduring, healthy relationships with humans, animals, plants, spiritual beings, and one’s self are the ones that make us feel good about ourselves and promote our growth, as well as bless the “other” in equal measure.
Inner- connection and inter- dependence.
I love to gaze out the windows at my busy neighborhood and watch the examples of “love-in-action:”
Parents and their children at play or learning or walking/biking together- listening and talking with each other, laughing, touching, thriving as a unit.
Parents and their animal children interacting with gentleness and love,
Homes in the neighborhood with thriving gardens and creative landscapes that bless the animals and people who pass their way.
- The fourth key to experiencing love is the belief that you are worthy of love. Many people grapple with this concept. If they were raised in a dysfunctional family of origin, where their need for love and acceptance was not nurtured, they walk through life feeling undeserving, defective, cynical.
They are cautious, closed to social encounters, sometimes abrasive – as a means to protect themselves. Rather than draw people to them, they push people away. Inside, however, they dream and pine for love. Wanting, yet not receiving may fill their lives with anxiety, depression, addictions, anger, and self-destructive behaviors.
There are others who put themselves in harm’s way in order to receive human contact. They accept abusive or disrespectful behavior from others because they do not want to be alone. “Being with someone is better than being alone with themselves.”
I don’t believe people can feel worthy of love unless they learn to love themselves.
For many of us, this is a lifelong process. It may take years for us to undo the wounds from childhood. Yet, in my own life and in the lives of my many clients, I see that it is entirely possible to be healed. We can learn to love ourselves and can get to a point where we attract and generate love.
My book, Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage; A Holistic Approach: Body, Mind, Emotions and Spirit describes and encourages this process.