"Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired."
The word ‘love’ encompasses many aspects of our lives. We love our children, our parents and family. We love our hobbies, friends, pets and the life we have created for ourselves. Some of us even love our jobs. But when most people think about the word LOVE it conjures up images of romance, commitment and intimacy. The desire for, and search of, a physical representation of this intangible emotion starts at an early age and follows us to the grave. This week, and next, I want us to explore why love is so important in our lives and help on how to find it, and then cultivate and keep it. Let’s get started.
Whether you believe it is hard-wired into our DNA or we are all just products of our environment, the idea of finding and maintaining love occupies a tremendous amount of our thought time. Google searches for questions concerning love and relationships are five times higher than searches for science or even technology. Why is this such a driving force in our lives?
From the time we are born, we are held close and made to feel safe by touch. We immediately form attachments and find joy and comfort there. Humans are social creatures, and as such, we delight in the company of others. It then goes one level deeper when we decide to form an intimate bond with just one special individual. This person will, hopefully, know us completely, love unconditionally and provide a safe place for us to fall. It is our intention to do the same for them.
So what’s in it for us? This Love Connection?
Love helps us feel better about ourselves. One could argue this is unhealthy and that we should feel good about ourselves anyway. I agree in theory; we should not depend on anyone for our self-worth, but I also recognize the benefit of having someone else in our corner. My daughter was getting ready to go out the other night and stopped and asked her husband, “How do I look?” His reply? “You look beautiful.” My immediate thought, that I accidentally said out loud was…”I wish I had someone to say I looked beautiful.” It’s not the ‘beautiful’ part that was important to my daughter, or anyone; it’s knowing you are special and important to another person. That we matter. That we are noticed.
There is a Facebook video going around where Will Smith (the actor) talks about a conversation and reflecting with his wife about how they are on separate journeys that they choose to travel together but realize it is not their job to make each other happy. Each partner is responsible for their own happiness. There were some aspects of the video that I can agree with, but I do think being in a healthy and sustaining relationship should bring a level of joy and happiness to your life. I think that is the way it was designed.
Love helps us handle the bad times. There was a study done where couples were put through a series of simulated scary scenarios. When the couples were together, and could actually touch/hold hands, their overall physical reaction to the ‘danger’ was less than when they were separated and by themselves. There is a comfort factor knowing you do not have to face obstacles or painful situations alone. The “fear” of being alone is a tangible reaction and a very real struggle for single adults. Unfortunately, it can cause some to rush into a relationship without truly knowing a person and it will often keep others in an unhealthy one to avoid being alone. For those of you in this situation, please remember….The safety net that love provides is only as good as the integrity and commitment of the person you trust your heart with.
Love raises our self-confidence. Having someone love us is the ultimate approval. It provides outward proof of our value. To know someone loves us, wants and needs us, fills us with purpose. We have a goal to live up to their belief in us and in the relationship. Many times, having another person believe in us gives emotional permission and the drive to step up and move forward with a plan. Dr Sue Johnson, a relationship expert says, “We’re much more confident when someone has our backs.” Having a cheerleader in our corner is a great morale booster and provides incentive to push through times when we question ourselves.
To sum it all up; Love is quite lovely. The emotional, spiritual and physical connection it provides is unmatched in any other experience we can have in this life. It is no wonder that we all want and search for it when we do not have it.
I can only imagine as I write this, that those of you who are single are saying, “Well, thanks a lot for reminding me of what I’m missing.” It isn’t my intention to make anyone feel bad for being alone. I’m right there with you. Friday night I was out with friends enjoying my beautiful city listening to live music on the square. During the band’s break there was still quiet music in the background and a couple went up near the stage to dance. They were basically alone with everyone else milling around. Then the guy stopped dancing, got on one knee, pulled that little black box out of his pocket and proceeded to propose. We, the ‘audience’, could not hear what he said, but it was obvious from her response that she said yes. Was I happy for her? Absolutely! It was sweet and adorable and a great setting. Was I a little jealous at the same time? If I’m transparent and honest, yes. Not of her specifically; but of just knowing she found ‘it’. She was happy and in love. My discomfort was fleeting and I’m truly content with my life as it stands right now. My point though, is that I understand. Love is great when you have it, but sometimes a struggle to find.
It is my wish for you, My Hopefuls, to find that kind of love; if that is your wish as well. Towards that end, next week we are going to talk about a few things you can do to increase your chance of finding it, recognizing it (it might look a little different this time around) and how to maintain it.
Until then…..I want you ALL to know that I love YOU! And your continued support and encouragement that I feel every day.
Hope With Abandon
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