So much has been written about love. We all have favorite songs and movies, photos and drawings, notes and memories that revolve around love. Whether that love is something you’ve experienced for yourself, had and lost or have seen in others, I think most of us have a good idea of what love is – or what it is supposed to be.
The thing about love is that there are all different kinds. The love that you have for your pet is far different from the love you have for your favorite teacher. You may love a celebrity, but that is completely different from what you feel for your favorite food. The love that you have for your partner is different from that of your children and on and on. We use “love” to mean one thing, but it really has many different facets.
The other thing about love is that it never runs out. My grandma used to say that it costs you nothing to be kind to someone. It costs you nothing to love someone. If that person doesn’t return the feeling, it hurts and it’s painful, but you haven’t lost anything from the endless mountain of love that you have to give just because they couldn’t buy in. In the end, it just wasn’t right and everyone walks away with lessons.
When it comes to love, the word “endless” sticks out. Love is endless. It may not be endless for someone (or it may), but the point is that it is endless within you. You can never run out of love to give. You may be able to barricade off the section of yourself that loves, but it is still in there, wanting to come out, with a never ending supply.
Think about your children, your pets, your family members, and the special people in your life. We often say things like, “she has a special place in my heart” to convey that there is a particular draw for us to a particular person. We have these beautiful relationships with all kinds of people, some of whom are special today and some of whom will be a memory in a few years. All of this love is valuable. Just because it may not be around later doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worth giving now – you still have more.
Sometimes we get stuck on what it means to give and receive love from a partner. Having a partner can be an amazing thing, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the discussion should you not find someone (whether that is now or ever). There is so much love to give and so many people who are waiting to receive! Go work with the elderly, many of whom will love you for your presence and kindness. Volunteer at a hospital and help to calm those people who are about to go through something that scares them. Find a friend who might need a babysitter and spend some time loving that child by reading books or watching a movie.
Love fills us up and it is something we all value, whether we admit it or not. It is often a key to our confidence as well as our downfalls and it can bring about both healthy and unhealthy behaviors. Enabling behaviors usually come from a place of love, and pushing your child to take that risk does as well. It runs the gamut.
It also doesn’t always have the result we intend. Too much doting on someone can push them away and not enough can make them clingy. So why not give what you can while you can in a healthy way? You won’t run out.
That’s the thing. It’s time to tell your people that you love them. You may think that they know even though you don’t say it, but everyone needs to hear that they are loved. Speak your love out loud and if they can’t reciprocate, that’s their problem. Maybe that means that they aren’t really “in” the relationship, and maybe that means that they are unhealthy for you. Maybe it’s better to know that now rather than later.
Why do I have to be vulnerable, you ask? Why should you be the one to put yourself out there if the other person isn’t going first? The only way that you can truly receive love is by learning to give it. There is a difference between getting a “fix” of “somebody loves me” and really knowing that you are loved. In order to find the latter, you have to be free and confident with speaking your love out loud.
Love is a beautiful thing and something that we all need and want. Even the toughest of us needs to know that we are supported and that there is someone out there who really knows who we are. That doesn’t mean that love is easy, that you will always get along or that the relationship you are in is a healthy one (whether that be with a partner, a friend or a family member), so you will have to assess those moments for what they are. But knowing that there isn’t love to waste, that every drop you provide to someone is something that you can give (because there is always much more) provides a freedom. An endless freedom.