I’ve been thinking a lot about love recently. It turns out I have a lot of ideas about it and I’ve been preventing myself from truly experiencing it, too. Who knew!?
Love. Is there anything more powerful in the world? I really don’t think there is. We all know that countless songs, books, movies, and plays have been written about love. Without love, what would people write about? What would teenage girls gossip and dream about? Love has brought people together and driven people apart. Love has created alliances and started wars. Love continues to be what millions of people spend a lot of time and energy seeking. Love is a multi-billion dollar industry – think about the cards Hallmark wants you to send, the online dating sites that want to help you find love…the entire wedding industry. Billions and billions of dollars are spent by people seeking or celebrating love.
It’s true, millions of people spend a lot of energy seeking love. Either because they truly believe in the magic of it, or because they feel that finding love will complete them and fill their voids (obviously, this is NOT the reason to look for love, and in fact, you can’t actually find love if these are your reasons – but that’s another topic for another rant post.)
It’s also true that millions of people take love for granted, or (claim that they) generally don’t believe in love. For some it may just be the image they want to project, for others it is likely a defense mechanism because for some reason they don’t feel worthy of love. They may tell you that this is complete bull, but I’d be willing to bet that in the vast majority of people who claim that they don’t believe in love are really just wounded souls trying to protect themselves.
Just as we are surrounded with society’s version of beauty (you can read my thoughts on that insanity here) we are also surrounded with society’s version of love. And, as it is with beauty, society’s version of love is IMPOSSIBLE! We are fed all of these stories of happily ever after loves. I’m not even talking about the Disney Princess happily ever afters that get people all fired up. I’m talking about all of the other happily ever afters we are supposed to believe in. There are some pretty high standards being set by Hollywood and the like. Has your Significant Other ever run through an airport to declare their undying love for you? Probably not (maybe only because of all of the security measures that exist these days). Has your SO ever broken out in song in a very public manner to express his/her feelings towards you? Probably not. Has your SO ever fought off R.O.U.S.’s for you? Probably not. (Any Princess Bride fans out there?) Does that mean they don’t truly love you, like the kind of love you see in the movies? Probably not. But is it easy to start to believe that these big gestures are what set the foundation for true love? Probably.
Given that this is how we see “true love” shown to us on a daily basis, it can be very easy to become cynical about it and believe it will never happen for you. Or, you’ve been hurt before and your way of protecting yourself from getting hurt again is to denounce love.
I get it. I understand that it’s easier to mock something than to accept that it won’t happen for you. I understand that it’s easier to tell yourself that you don’t believe in something than it is to open yourself up to being hurt.
I’ve been down all of those roads. I’ve been down the weird path of holding the guys in my life to the standards set by the (ahem, fictional!) guys in the love songs and love stories. I’ve been down the unhealthy path of thinking that it’s better to put up walls and not let anyone too close because it was safer to protect myself from being hurt.
Despite my rocky relationships of the past, and my current divorce situation, I’m realizing that neither of these paths are right for me, neither of these paths are healthy. I want you to know that, while these paths are normal, they are not your rightest path. Whatever other anti-love path you might be on, that’s not your rightest path, either. True love does exist. You deserve to find it. It won’t be like it is in the movies, but it will be real. It will be yours. It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.
I’m not cynical about love. I believe that love is the most powerful force out there. I love love. I just didn’t know that I was blocking myself from truly letting it in. I’m working on removing those blocks. I believe in love. And it is attainable for all of us.
There are a lot of things that have to happen with YOU before you are truly open to love. One of the first is that you have to work on admitting that you believe it exists, and another is that you have to believe that finding it is worth the risk of getting hurt.
Let’s start by identifying some of your love blocks. Which anti-love path (or paths) are you on right now? When I say “true love” what do you think? Do you roll your eyes and snort with derision? Do you smile wistfully and think that it’s a nice idea but it won’t happen for you? Think about it. Think about what you believe to be true about true love in your life. Once you can be honest with yourself about that, you can start to get off of the anti-love path, once you can be honest with yourself about how you feel about love, you can start to open yourself up to love.
Wherever you are today: Own it. Embrace it. And then think about how to improve it. Let’s work on letting love in.