Love - A Paradigm Shift
I have a friend who I meet every two weeks for a deep and honest check-in on how our lives are going. I feel extremely grateful to know someone like this, with a similar self-development path, who is on the same wavelength in terminology, values and broad outlook.
In our last meeting on Friday he asked me what my unconscious definition of "Love" is. A fascinating question, and one I didn't have an answer for.
I could immediately give him my current best-guess at a definition that I carry around consciously with me:
"Love is wanting the other person to be free and happy."
I can't remember where I read that, but the moment I did read it, it resonated and sank in. I think it's a marvellous definition.
But my unconscious definition? The definition that I've carried from my childhood?
It took thirty-six hours for the answer to that question to be delivered to me, and it was delivered when I wasn't thinking about it. (I was actually lying in bed at 5am, unable to sleep due to emotional flashbacks and getting really wound up that I couldn't remember the name of Julia Roberts... you know, worrying about the important stuff!)
Anyway... the unconscious definition that was delivered to me was:
"Love is the attention or possibly praise temporarily granted as a reward for giving the other person what they want from you."
Is that really the definition I was carrying for 47 years?
Perhaps that explains why I'm so exhausted. Perhaps that explains why I got myself into such terrible situations with relationships, friendships, jobs and clients...
Just feel that neediness encapsulated in that sentence (and it was a sentence worse than any prison sentence!)
In order to satisfy my neediness, I must hang around with similarly needy people. I am not loved for who I am but for what I can give.
I'll say it again... wow.
I'm glad I have my new working-copy of an idea of "Love", and I can see day-by-day how I'm starting to use the new definition.
But the old one is still there. Hopefully less so now I've shone the light of consciousness on it... by becoming aware of it, I'll be aware of when I'm trying to fulfil its empty promises.
Isn't it beautiful how one simple, seemingly innocuous question can open up so much about ourselves?