Yesterday, I started this series to get people thinking about how much more love would be available if we practiced some simple principles and skills of loving. If you missed that post, you can read it here. Today’s myth? That Love is expensive. We believe its something we earn. We have beliefs that we must be good to be loveable. Often, we shy away from love, because the price tag looks too high. We have the idea that romantic love will require sacrifices of who we really are. And often it does. Who hasn’t kept themselves small, or kept their mouth shut, in order not to rock the boat? Who hasn’t withheld love when a lover, friend or child has failed to make the grade?
I was once in a course where a woman was complaining about how lonely she was. Cindy Baranco, widow of the founder of Lafayette Morehouse, and current head of the faculty, once said,”The love you are missing is the love you are not giving.” And the second principle of loving according to Jerry Jud is Love is a gift. You can’t earn it. You can’t buy it. You can’t steal it. You have it to give and you give it. And in the giving of it, you recognize you already have it. The greatest gift you can give another is to receive them. When we really see another person, we are loving them. When you accept someone as they are, even if it is not your preference for how they behave, you are gifting love. When you smile at the sales clerk when they are really slow, you are giving love.
Being a loving person to others enhances our own sense of our selves. Yet we are often so stingy about it. If you are having beliefs about vulnerability, or that you get taken advantage of, you will probably have a hard time being generous with your love. I recently was feeling estranged from someone. I knew they could benefit from my being available, and transparent, but I didn’t think I could afford it. Rather than sit in that discomfort, I decided to reach out. First, I meditated until I got in touch with how much surplus I have in my own life. And then I shared myself and offered to back her goals. I believe there was love in that moment. I know I felt better about our relationship. I felt better about myself. To give love is to receive it. Here’s another supposed Morehouse saying, “There’s only one of us here.”
Here’s the other thing about love as a gift. If you feel like you get less than your fair share, how good a receiver are you? Are you drinking it in when someone sends love your way, or rebuffing it? When someone compliments your dress, do you say, “this old thing?” If you are feeling a little low on love, try a gratitude list. It always helps me to notice my good fortune, and the blessing of the love that I am receiving. Remember that what you focus on grows! Did you notice before, where I said I got in touch with my own surplus? We can’t give what we haven’t got. If you give more than you have in the moment,this is a sacrifice that helps no one and only leads to resentment. If you give love in order to get it, that’s buying and selling. Love is a gift freely given. Who can you gift today? Start with yourself.
Tomorrow – Love is not time bound.