Love itself, in its purest, most genuine state, doesn't generate pain for pain's sake. It has no attachments to form or structure. It is unconditional and unbiased. And it doesn't have to be earned. It is simply and freely given.
Where we often get into trouble in love is by attempting to control its form and structure by attaching our desires to it. By doing so, we try to lock it into a specific look and feel, when love is by nature as free as a breeze that tickles the trees.
Part of the struggle around genuine loving that I witness with clients and within myself is that we 1) aren't very good at it, 2) misunderstand it, and 3) try to control it. Let's unpack these...
1. We aren't very good at love because we've been conditioned to protect ourselves from pain. Love doesn't generate pain for pain's sake, but feeling a deep love can hurt inside when it is buried in suffering. And the reality is that we can't grow and evolve without experiencing things that challenge our conditioning and wake us up to existing pain and suffering, because until everyone is free from pain and suffering, no one is. When we avoid healthy growing pains, we cut ourselves off from opportunities that allow us to emotionally mature, spiritually evolve, and uplift ourselves OUT of pain and suffering. This leaves us stuck in the same old conditioned default patterns that keep us from thriving.
2. We misunderstand love because we've forgotten that love is our essence, our true nature. We are born of love and are made of love. It dwells within us from the moment we are conceived. But we forget this and believe we must seek for love outside of ourselves. In reality, we don't have to seek for love because we don't lack for love. We must remember that we already are love. All we have to do is learn how to access it inside, and share it from our natural state of fullness and wholeness.
3. We try to control love because we aren't very good at it, we misunderstand it, and then we blame it for our pain and suffering. Trying to control the flow and structure of love distorts it. Then it isn't genuine love anymore, it's fear. GENUINE love arises naturally, is unbiased, is unconditional, is freely shared, and is infinitely available to us. We just don't "get" this yet, so what we end up experiencing instead is a conditioned version of love that flows out of our fear instead of our heart. When we base our thoughts, words, and actions in fear, we are destined to create suffering.
So, how do we get ourselves back to a more genuine state of loving? This is the BIG question, right? We all yearn for a sense of love and belonging. It's a primal, basic need. And as so many spiritual teachers have said before me, it starts with genuinely loving ourselves. This is absolute, and is why self-love is a central focus of my After A Breakup H.E.L.P. program. Why is self-love so hard for us?
Well, before we go there, I want to answer a question that comes up regularly with clients when we talk about genuine loving. It has to do with being a doormat. Pop on over to PART 3 to read about it.