A few months ago, I started writing for a monthly Turkish magazine called AŞK, which means love in Turkish. I was asked to write about Love. Such an easy and such a difficult subject. And this week, I would like to write about love here as well. For me love means relationships to me, not only in a romantic sense, in all aspects of life as a whole.
Love is about “me” and “us”. How can we improve the quality of both “me” and “us”? What can we do to improve our relationships, to feel more loving and to feel the presence of love in our lives?
“Without Love, all else will fail” says John Gray. Yet again, this does not necessarily intend romantic love or that we can not physically survive without it. However, among our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs, I am not sure where this fits, or whether it belongs to all – we need to love and be loved. We need to love others. We need to love ourselves. Love seems to be the life energy that keeps us together. Love is the taste of the Creator, the taste of the life force in our universe.
We all need love. However, we need to keep in mind that our greatest need of love is the need to love ourselves. The greatest source of love is inside rather than outside. If we are not able to love ourselves, then we are not able to love others. And it becomes difficult for others to love us as well. Self-love is the kind of love we need to have first, in order to invite the love we desire into our lives. This is not selfishness. As Mark Twain said: “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” We need and deserve self-approval. We need to be proud to accept that we are unique. Accepting ourselves as we are and loving ourselves for what we are, is the key to inviting more love into our lives.
Also, when we love ourselves, we feel free to express our true selves. Then, our creativity has a chance to bloom. We can find ways to improve the quality of our lives and the lives of those around us.
Easy said than done, I agree. Hoever, let us give it shot. What can we do to invite more self-love into our lives?
Acceptance is very important. We need to remind ourselves that it is OK to appreciate ourselves. And that we are allowed to make mistakes. Of course, accepting ourselves will lead us to act in more confident ways. We will express ourselves more. This may cause some of our friends to be more distant to us and may cause some rejection. However, I believe that a true friend is a person who allows us to express ourselves without any fear of abandonment or rejection. You can be sure that your friends that accept you for what you really are will always be there for you. Abraham Maslow said: “Self-actualizing people must be what they can be.” Do we really have another choice?
The question still stands: How can we learn self-love? How can we invite more love into our lives?
First of all we need to realize that we adapt certain behaviour patterns in order to receive love from others. Sometimes we work hard to perform to the standards that we feel deserve love. In this pattern, we try to earn love. Yet, we need to stop a while and observe and realize that love cannot be received by working longer hours and working harder. To work maybe necessary, but not for love. Sometimes we become very critical. Or we boast too much or we play the victim. We ask for appreciation or for charity of love. Yet, we need to realize that we can be a victim only if we accept to be one. Love received in pity has very short endurance. Sometimes we act the “nice person” and believe that saying “yes” to the needs of others will brings us love in return. However, we need to remind ourselves that a healthy relationship requires that the needs of both parties are met.
Please observe yourself in your relationships with your partner, your family or friends. Do you behave in ways that do not reflect your true character? Could you be acting in these patterns to receive love? Do you really need to act this way to receive love? Of course, we all have our character traits and we all behave differently under different circumstances. However, if we are acting in ways that mask our true feelings in order to be loved, this points out that there is an issue in our relationship that needs to be resolved.
Forgiveness is also very important in a relationship. However, forgiving does not mean agreeing with the other person’s behaviour. Forgiving is the acceptance of what happened. This allows two people to be aware of and then to correct or at least not repeat the same mistake in a relationship. Easy said than done. All of this is nothing new. Nevertheless, I believe that we all need to be reminded of the obvious at times.
Here are a few suggestions. In your relationships, please do not suppress you feelings to much and for too long. Two people in any kind of a relationship share a common set of emotions whether they are aware of it or not. It is as if a feeling suppressed by one person, rises in the other person unconsciously, because their subconscious operate together. For example, when you are late to an event because your partner is taking too much time get ready, if you try to be nice for too long to control your reactions, you will soon see you partner getting angry for being late to the event. Please observe such situations in your life and in the lives of people around you. By not suppressing your emotions, you will improve the quality of your relationships and the quality of the lives of the people close to you.
When you feel angry at a friend and feel less that loving, write a “love-letter” to that friend. Write a letter expressing your feelings. You do not need to be away from a person to write a love-letter to him or her. You do not need to feel loving to write a love-letter. In fact, when the feelings of love seem to be lacking, a love-letter is more in due.
Please make sure that you express feelings of anger, blame, hurt, sadness, fear, insecurity, guilt, regret, and finally in the end of the letter, feelings of love, forgiveness and understanding. The main goal of a love-letter is to let your feelings out. What we keep inside hurts us beyond our comprehension. Feelings of anger, guilt and resentment are the main causes of many illnesses.
The key to writing a love-letter is making sure that you pour all your negative feelings out until you are able to feel love for the person who have problems with, and to write about love at the end. I recommend that you make “writing your love-letter” more about your emotions than your thoughts. Emotions that are bottled up inside are the main causes of emotional pains which lead to physical and mental unease.
When you have a conflict with your partner or a friend, if you can agree to do so, you may write to each other and share your emotions. When you are reading such a love-letter, please always read until the end, since as we mentioned before love letters should always be concluded at a point where you are able to feel the love again. If you are not able to reach that point, your letter is not complete. Remember that the main aim of the letter is to release the emotions that block love and to allow the feelings of love to resurface. Of course, if you feel any doubt that your letter may be misunderstood or misinterpreted, keep it to yourself. Your writing it will be enough to improve the relationship and maybe even to resolve the issue. It sounds simple, yet you’ll be amazed at the results if you try it. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself… Serve and thou shall be served.”
And, when in conflict always image in your mind’s eye that the issue has been resolved and all is well. The power of intention is very strong. As William Blake wrote in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:
“Does a firm persuasion that a thing is so, make it so?
He replied, ‘All poets believe that it does.
And in ages of imagination, this firm persuasion removed mountains;
But many are not capable of a firm persuasion of anything.”
May love and light always be with you.
Affirmation of the Week:
“It is my intention to respect myself at all times.”
By Wayne W. Dyer , The Author of “You’ll See It When You Believe It.”
Quote of the Week:
“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” By John Gray.
The Turkish translation of this book is available under the name “Erkekler Mars’tan, Kadınlar Venüs’ten.”