How often in a relationship do we consciously act lovingly towards our partner? How often do we experience feelings of pure love? If someone could watch our interactions with our loved ones, what conclusions would they come to? I recently came across the website of Dr. Shefali Tsabary and her blog at Namaste Publishing which beautifully answers these questions. I have shared it in its entirety for you here. Enjoy!
All of us like to think of ourselves as loving, kind and patient. But are we really? Is our image of ourselves truly reflected in our behavior? How many observable acts of love, kindness and patience do we perform in a day?
Most of us say we love our children, or our partners, but what did we do today todemonstrably communicate this? Did we write them a note? Did we spend 5 minutes longer with them than we usually might have? Did we give them our unconditional presence? Did we communicate that we love spending time with them? Did we allow ourselves to attune to their inner being?
Love and attention sadly get translated into how many things we buy the other, or how many activities we do with the other. While these have their place in life, this is not exactly what feeds the soul. If we truly wish to engage with another from a heart-place, we need to step away from the “doing” aspects of life, and engage from the “being” place.
When we are with our loved ones, we unconsciously assume that showing love means having them do what we want them to do or having them be how we want them to be. Examine yourself next time you are with your loved ones, your children for example. How many times do you interject your opinion, power, control or dominance into the situation? How many times do you check your email, or distract yourself in some way? How many times do you think to yourself, “how can I get out of here so I can tend to my million chores?”
Feeling love and communicating this love are two entirely different things. Feeling love and being loving are often discrete qualities. I often say to clients, “I know you love your family, love is not in question. Now let’s see how you can communicate this in a way thatthey can feel.”
If most of us feel love for our families, why are divorces rampant and children starving for connection?
Perhaps it is so because when we say we love another we are more in love with the IDEA of loving another than actually doing the hard work it takes to love them.
The truth is this: Loving another often takes hard work. If it remains a conceptual idea it is only half its worth. If it includes a condition “as long as they do what I want and act like I want them to” then it loses all its value.
Loving another means to love the other as they are and not as we wish them to be. It means to accept the other as they fundamentally are and not as we hoped they would be – to make us feel better. Truly loving another means being able to honor their spirit and tend to their soul.
This sort of loving takes time, effort, energy and most of all a surrender of our egoic desires. Truly loving another means making the space within to make the moment all about the other.
This of course can only happen when the space within is expansive, when one’s own spirit has been honored and when one’s own soul has been tended.
So to love another – truly – means to first love oneself. Not in an egoic and narcissistic way, but in a way that symbolizes a deep inner connectivity.