Love is my most favorite emotion by FAR. I LOVE to feel love but I also am fascinated by how complicated it is. I believe the reason it’s such a popular topic AND the only emotion with it’s own holiday, is because love is tricky.
I first became familiar personally with love when a Junior boy in my High School noticed me, a little geeky Freshman, and paid attention to me and told me I was pretty and fun and smart. At first I just loved the idea that maybe he was right about me being kind of awesome, and then as I got to know that boy, I loved him. And it felt A-MA-ZING. Like a drug I couldn’t get enough of. Until he found someone a little prettier and a little more fun, and then it felt like the worst pain I had experienced in my 15 years on earth.
And now after a lot of other relationships and heartbreaks, I’m married to a man who I LOVE with all my heart. Not because of what he thinks of me, but because of what I know about him. I’ve seen him when he is leading a staff of over 200 employees and when he is on a bed recovering from surgery and not making much sense due to the effects of modern medicine. I love his strong sides and his tender sides and I love this kind of love because it is intimate and authentic and real and long lasting.
Other times I feel love for other people and I’m not even part of the equation. Like last week when my friend Mary’s husband returned home from his 8 ½ month deployment in Afghanistan to her and their five small children. As I listened to him describe the strong men he worked along-side and fought against, and then described his wife as hands down the strongest person he knows, I felt love for both of them and it made me cry that good kind of cry. Love does that to me a lot.
And as a mom I find that I’m tethered to love in such a way that my heart gets yanked around and I seem to have no control over it whatsoever. Like when I visited the school cafeteria and saw my son sitting all alone eating his lunch at the end of the table while all the other kids laughed and played on the opposite side. Ouch. Some people call this fear or empathy but I think it’s love. It’s just that kind of love that hurts and I don’t know a single mama who doesn’t experience it regularly.
But even on a painful day, love is my favorite emotion by far. If you think so too, then I want to give you a couple things to ponder.
1. Loving Others Is a Gift You Give Yourself
Love is something YOU get to feel any time you want. The people you love may or may not even know or care that you’re feeling it.
Have you ever been mad at someone who didn’t even know you were mad? You are the one who had to feel that and it doesn’t feel very good does it?
When you LOVE people, the same is true. YOU are the one who feels it. You might choose to tell them or show them and they might choose to feel love towards you also, but ultimately they might not and you still get to feel it. I encourage my clients to feel love whenever they can and to do it for themselves. Choose to feel it because it feels amazing and when you feel good, you show up differently. You show up as your most authentic self when you feel love. Loving feelings create loving actions which create the kinds of results you likely want more of in your life.
2. What About Those “Un-loveable” People?
“But Jody….some people are just UN-LOVEABLE!” I hear ya’ sister! The next time you have an entire day free let me know and I’ll tell you about all the people in my life I couldn’t get along with. The truth is though, when I allow other people to annoy me it’s always a message that there is a similar part in myself I either need to change or work on loving, so I consider it a gift of awareness. It’s eye opening when I approach it that way. Sometimes I don’t like what I see but I’m grateful for the awareness anyhow.
I also remind myself that part of my own evolution is having “difficult people” unintentionally teach me valuable lessons. In fact, I dare say I would be a weaker, less knowledgeable, less capable version of myself today if it weren’t for some of those “crazy” people in my rear-view mirror.
I choose to love people whenever I can because of how good it feels. When I can’t get to love, then I choose to be intrigued by them. Being intrigued feels so much better than being annoyed.
Allow Yourself to Feel More Love
This week try allowing yourself to feel more love. When you’re with people who like to gossip and they bring up someone’s name, respond with, “Oh, I LOVE her!” The conversation will shift but you’ll also get to feel one of the best emotions there is.
The next time a “difficult” person comes along, try to be intrigued by them and see what changes. Notice what love feels like and when it shows up. Think back to when you felt it the strongest. Was it on your wedding day? When you held your child for the first time? Now think about all the subtle versions of it that you can feel over and over again each day. It can be as simple as helping someone out in the grocery store and imagining what trials they might be facing right now. Or really looking into the face of the cashier at the 7-11 and trying to imagine how God see’s her. Every single one of us needs human connection and when you choose to connect with others you allow yourself to feel love. And love feels awesome.
As you pay attention and look for opportunities to love you’ll find that those opportunities are abundant. What a gift. As you really listen to, and make room for the voice of love it gets louder and easier to feel. Love can suffocate out fear and anger and all sorts of other negative feelings. There’s a reason there are so many songs written about it. It’s powerful and amazing and I believe it really is what the world needs now.
Thanks for letting me love your guts… Cause I do and it feels soooo good!
Get a quick email when new blog postings are published by clicking HERE.