Have you ever said something like this – “I love him so much”, “I’m so head love heals in love him that I can’t live without him”, “He’s the only man I’ll ever love”, “I know it may seem that we’re not happy, but I love him”?
Or perhaps, you’ve told someone that you love them, though a part of you knew it wasn’t completely true? Love is supposed to be sacred, epic and even legendary, though may people give little honor to the true essence of what real love is.
When properly expressed such a simple phrase can mean the world to someone, though after many years of working with clients who are interested in cultivating loving relationships, I find that many of them don’t authentically love as they haven’t cultivated a developed understanding of the intricacies of love (myself included at times). Naturally, when you don’t fully grasp the true meaning of the word – you can misuse it and be misguided by it.
While the misuse of some words may go unnoticed, haphazardly throwing around the word “love” can really do damage to yourself and those who believe what you’re saying…
To feel something strongly, does not always mean that the feeling is accurate. Meaning; I can feel betrayed, angry, sad or rejected, though if I was to expertly peel back the layers of my perceptions and beliefs, perhaps these feelings would not be accurate. The same applies for love.
Experiencing strong emotion for someone does not always mean that we truly love them. To feel love, does not always mean that we are actually in love.
As I write this, I realize that often times I feel like a wet blanket when I express my thoughts about love. My intention is not to dampen your spirit, discourage or remove the romance and fantasy out of love, rather to shed some light as to how you may all too often end up in a place of heartache and how to change this.
You see, I’m an advocate and believer in the power of love, though not love for loves sake. When we truly love ourselves and love another, then loving becomes one of the most exquisite and in some ways ultimate of life experiences.
And love, as does a good wine, get’s better over time, and if you love wine, you invest in wine, not port, vodka or rum. Similarly, if you want love, you don’t commit to anything less (yet many do).
If you’re currently dating or married to someone who you think you love, or possibly even tell them you love them, yet somewhere inside of you you’re perhaps not being true to your heart… then this article is for you.
What is Love?
In order to determine if what you’re saying, feeling, and portraying is actually love and not some loose form of infatuation or tainted experience of what love is, you need to first define love.
There are plenty of sites that provide love advice and if you were to look through each of them for love’s definition you’d come across several variations. I’ve tried as best I can to combine the best meanings:
Love is a force of nature that is much bigger than any of us. It is defined as a noun and a verb in that love is a feeling and an action. Love is not something that can be controlled. You cannot choose who you fall in love with and you can’t force someone to fall in love with you. Love is gentle and kind having no agenda, conditions, stipulations, or codes. Love emits much like the rays of the sun illuminating past all of our fears and desires. Love weathers the storms and gets stronger over time. Love feels loving, healing and elevating.
Love is a pretty amazing thing when you look at it. Now having a better understanding of what it means to love and be loved, would you honestly say that you’ve been expressing/acting on it in a way that truly supports your most authentic and unclouded desires?
Or would you say that you’ve been so swayed by your personal experiences that the true sense of the word love has gotten lost somewhere along the lines?
7 Signs You’ve Got the Wrong Idea About Love
1. You said I love you very quickly (in several relationships) – Do you have a habit of telling someone you love them after only a few dates or a few weeks?
Sure, you can feel that you love someone at first sight, but do you really know the person well enough to know if your feelings are accurate? If you’ve made a habit of expressing your love early on in your relationships then this is a sign that you may not truly understand the meaning of love.
People can get wrapped up in the idea of love, or they mistake strong feelings of want and desire for love, when in fact these strong feelings can indicate; attachment, neediness, codependence, the need for validation and acceptance.
2. You Only Think About Your Needs – When you’re truly in love with someone you substitute the I’s for We. Just as you seek to meet your own goals, aspirations, needs, and desires, you’re also invested insupporting the needs and goals of your partner. If you haven’t taken the necessary steps to tend to the needs of your partner and have become so consumed with yourself, the only person you value is…YOU( not the relationship).This would indicate that you’re taking the “what’s in it for me” mindset to the extreme. When you’re in love you actually want to support your partner, as they do you.
3. You’re keeping options open – There’s certainly nothing wrong with being attracted to others, but if you’re openly flirting and preserving prospects “just in case” your relationship fails then the question must be asked – are you really in love? Someone who’s truly in love with someone isn’t sniffing around looking for greener pastures (unless they’re playing games).
4. You have conditions – In a loving relationship, acceptance and understanding is crucial. This essentially means that you love someone despite their shortcomings.
Are you in a relationship in which there are conditions? Now I’m not suggesting you stay with someone who continually hits on you or cheats without a care in the world, these are what I call non-negotiable, but you have to be willing to accept that your partner is human and will fall short of your expectations at times.
Are you willing to work differences out when things go awry, or are you the type to throw in the towel the moment there’s a sign of trouble? If your answer is the latter,then you may need to loosen the reigns. Conversely, if you have no boundaries at all, and often find yourself in destructive relationships, then perhaps it’s time to “tighten the reigns” so to speak. Either end of the spectrum is not love.
5. You don’t feel content – Striving for better within a relationship is imperative. Be that as it may, you must also learn to appreciate the here and now. Do you find that you’re not content in your relationship, like there’s something missing? If so, maybe you’re not as in love as you thought.
6. You lack trust – What is love without trust? If you have trust issues (unrelated to something that your significant other did) then you’re not truly giving all of yourself to the one you’re in a relationship with.Or if there are legitimate reasons for you not to trust your partner then perhaps it’s time to reassess if you love him or are hooked to him.
7. You try to change them – To love a person is to love them for who they are in the present. If you are constantly trying to change the person you’re with, you don’t love who they genuinely are. Change is a given, no matter who you date they will change over time in some ways, though if you believe that you will only be happy once they are; more motivated, wealthier, more muscly, etc. Then perhaps you’re not in love with the man they are today.
So what if you answered yes to some or all of the above signs? Does this mean you have no love for the person you’re with? Should you simply throw in the towel?
Not necessarily…. Sure, these are telltale signs that you may not be as in love as you thought, though this doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. Get clear about what you really value when it comes to a loving relationship then access if you and the man you’re with are truly compatible. When you’re authentic with your heart, you will know the truth.
Letting Them Down Easy
If you’ve discovered that you’re really not in love with the guy you’re with, or he’s in love and you’re not,it’s important to let them know what’s on your mind. Hiding emotions only makes the matter worse to deal with later on – especially if you don’t think there’s a chance that you’ll learn to love him down the line. Express your concerns and be willing to listen to his feelings.
The best love advice I can give you when it comes to the actual feeling and action of love is to take your time. Love is not something that can be forced, nor is it something that you should “pretend” to feel just so you don’t hurt your partner’s feelings.
The only way to find true love and a healthy relationship is to be open and honest with yourself and the person you’re committed to. At the end of the day, if you’re meant to be, love will find a way of bringing and keeping you together.