Taking a Look at Love

Loving means allowing yourself to be vulnerable, to get hurt, to be abandoned, to be rejected, to lose pieces of yourself when you give to that other person. Love is the most confusing thing we’re capable of doing and no one really understands it. Through all types of love, there’s no formula, no manual, and no rationality. We adore pets that pass on far too soon, build our lives on a foundation of trust in a spouse not to abandon all that we’ve built, marry even though eventually they will pass on and leave us, idolize our parents although we watch them get handicapped and pass on, and invest so much of our lives in our children in the hopes that the world will treat them as generously.

In all those instances, its clear that love is a choice and a decision to trust that person not to disappoint and trust that life won’t spoil it. But, we know that life isn’t always ruling in our favor. Yet, we make a decision to love and accept the possibility of suffering. We gamble our entire lives and existence, on the unfair and changing winds of chance. And prayer.

So we choose to love and to suffer. But, over and over again, we make that choice.

People who have seen parents get divorced, who have parents who never gave them the love a child needs, or who have lost someone so close to them that they are devastated and incapacitated and cannot open their hearts, have a very hard time making this decision. They love, but are too afraid of the lurking side order of suffering to enjoy it and give into it. These people forget what it felt like to love unabashedly, and bask in the glow of being loved. Instead, they only remember the pain and so they don’t feel like it’s worth it to do it again.

But could you be happy? You would never be in pain, but could you ever feel joy if you eliminated love from your life? You would be numb and feel depressed and lonely. It keeps you safe from any pain, but you lose more than you gain.

You lose the good memories: the times you were warmed by the way they looked into your eyes and it said all that they felt, the times you held each other and felt safe, the times laugh straight from the bottom of your stomach came out of you after something they said and you felt rejuvenated, the times you wanted to cry because you were so proud of them, the times you sat up worrying about them to only feel a relief that reminds you that God is good when they came home safe, the times that you needed to cry and the only things more comforting than their wise words was their embrace, the times that you spent apart and longed to see them so much that the reunion made your head feel like the world got stuck on fast-forward, the times you admitted how much you cared about them and the sense that the world made just when the feeling was mutual, and all the little moments that convince you day after day that life, your existence, isn’t random at all but that you are here for something, you are alive for a purpose and you are worthwhile.

There is nothing more breath taking than these moments, and nothing that makes it harder to breathe than when we lose these people and are robbed of these moments. Nothing that makes us feel like the world is random and meaningless than a loss that great.

Nothing in life is free, but wasn’t it worth the cost? Really thinking back to the richness of those moments, those people. Wasn’t it worthwhile?

We love for the same reason we pay to cry at sad movies or get scared on rollercoasters; do drugs, smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol; compete in physically aggressive sports; gamble; and take jobs that put others’ lives in our hands or involve us putting or own lives on the line. It makes us feel alive, reminds us that we’re alive. Love makes life worth living, and so its worth it.

Ultimately true love starts with the love of yourself and if you are not experiencing love in your own body, then it is tough to love another fully. In the world of coaching and counseling, the main focus is on loving yourself first, and then true love can flow out to others. So if you want to practice having more love in your life, start by loving the person in the mirror. If you need assistance, we are always here to help.

Woody Allen on Love:
“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness.”

Marty and Caroline, Life Circles

Life Circles

At our practice, we are dedicated to fostering positive change and promoting mental well-being for individuals of all ages, including kids, teens, and adults, through our holistic approach rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).