Love is the most important word in the English speaking language. We have made billions of movies about it and even more music. Psychologists recognise it as an emotional human need. But I think what makes love so complex is that it’s not only a feeling, but a choice we make. Love is a verb or a ‘doing’ word.
Love is a feeling
Falling in love feels like an overwhelming and incredible sensation when we are getting to know that special someone. Dr. Gary Chapman describes ‘falling in love’ as an obsession. It’s a state where we forget about ourselves and put the other person and their needs first. There is no problem too big because when the love is real, it’s the only thing that matters.
But, we are human. And we are naturally egocentric meaning eventually the obsession will pass, and we will be once again in the real world. Things that you loved about someone might now be what drives you cray cray. This might sound sad and horrible, and you may be thinking, where are the fireworks? The chemistry? Well, my friends, all of that biz is now a choice you have to make to reignite when you recognise it is not burning as brightly as you would like. And it’s important to note that obsessions are not sustainable. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. What we are left with is something pretty spesh.
When the fireworks fizzle, what you’re left with is a deeper connection and a more meaningful love. It doesn’t disappear, it just changes and morphs into something deeper.
Love is an action and a decision that we make
I know exactly what makes my partner feel loved, so I make the conscious effort to do that. I also know that the love I give out with return to me multiplied. If I expect love and attention from Zac, I can’t expect him to pour from an empty glass (see my previous post, You can’t pour from an empty glass: you and your needs come first). I can help fill his glass by doing the things I know make him feel loved, then he has more to give to me.
It has been proven that showing acts of love towards others increases your own happiness. By filling someone else’ glass you are also filling your own.
This isn’t a selfish thing. It’s about being aware that as people we are mirrors, and we treat people the same was as we treat ourselves. So if we are showing love to ourselves and our partners, it will radiate out of all that we do and we will be surrounded by positive, loving energy coming from all directions.
This rule doesn’t only apply to our partners…
The best example I can think of to explain how love is not only a feeling but an action, is sharing with you the relationship between me and my twin sister, Jane. We are so different, yet exactly the same. What she is expects of me is exactly what I expect of her. In the past, we have gotten frustrated at each other for not getting the responses that we wanted. But it was only after I reflected on how I was feeling and behaving, that I realised I was asking Jane to pour from an empty glass. I was doing nothing to fill her glass and actively love her but I was quite happy to ask for her love in return. It wasn’t until I recognised that, that I started to actively be the love that I wanted to attract. I know what makes her feel good, and now I make an effort to do those things. It changed our relationship dramatically, and now we both have so much love for each other that it is overflowing and we are consistently surrounded by it.
Don’t get me wrong, we have always loved each other so dearly. But it was a feeling. We both knew the love was there, but we couldn’t see it. Our actions weren’t a reflection of the love we felt, until we started acting on that love. Spending time with her, telling her nice things or letting her borrow my clothes are things I can do to show Jane how much I love her, rather than expecting her to just feel it because we know it’s there.
Yes, it is our own responsibility to love ourselves and fill our own glass. Having someone love us and feel loved is a natural human need, and to expect it from others it helps to show them what we need by treating ourselves that way, first.
People are mirrors, and how we treat them will reflect in how they treat us. So radiate love, do all things with love and make conscious efforts to explore what makes you and your loved ones feel the love that you both deserve and are capable of giving.
For more, visit Dr. Gary Chapman’s website, buy his book or read my take on it at What’s your love language?
On a side note, did you know that animals like chimps, sheep, hyenas and even dolphins are capable of showing behaviors that reconcile relationships after conflict, except for domestic cats. Ha! No wonder I’m a dog person.
Peace and love.