Her: Holistic Health

How I Love

In Uncategorized on July 14, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Print by K. Barteski

This week I have been thinking about how I love.

The monologue rolling and rolling around in my head always seems to start with what I know for sure about love.

Love is vital for human development. Studies have shown that babies thrive when they are loved. They will fail to thrive if they are not. We are born knowing how to love but often lose those skills as we grow older. The only true way to  re-learn how to love is to simply love and allow yourself to be loved. While one can read all about it, it can’t be learned from a book, magazine article or blog post (believe me, I have tried) but instead it must be experienced in the flesh.

Love is a choice.  Despite what I read in fairy tales and young adult novels, there isn’t some bolt of lighting that strikes you. There isn’t just one soul mate “out there” for everyone. Instead love is a conscious choice that we each make each and every day, a choice to open our imperfect hearts to falling in love with other imperfect soul before us.

Everyone wants to be loved. Every single one of us, whether we admit it or not, move through the world seeking love and connection through our words and actions. The problems arise when we figure out that what we want most in the world is often what we fear in equal measure – being seen and loved matters that much. I know that I have been guilty of pushing away love for fear of it being taken away.

This week I find myself questioning how I love.

For a long time, for fear of getting hurt or worse yet, looking like fool, I loved in silence, I loved in a way that it was a secret only known to me, the faulty logic being that there was no way that I could get hurt if I did not say the words. Of course, the downside of that strategy was that I often was misjudged as being aloof, cold and distant (even though, below the cool surface of things, nothing was further from my truth) there was no opening for me to experience the joy of loving and being loved in return.

After months of feeling on the outside during an intensive workshop, and with a giant shove from a kind friend, I literally made an announcement that I was open to love.  I decided to love big and to love openly, to say the words and open myself up wide. It is all still so new and I often feel like a puppy who hasn’t grown into her body, I feel all sharp elbows and wobbly legs, bumbling my way through connecting and through loving.

I stumble over my words, maybe I say too much too soon, share too much, in my earnest attempt to start with my heart and arms wide open. Like everyone else, I want to thrive in the company of those around me, and at the root I am that little girl who wants nothing more than to be loved.

If you really knew me you would know that I find myself struggling not to love in silence or to push away connection. I am struggling with how to not allow myself to be pushed away. Though everyone wants to be love, not everyone is on board with the way that I love. Not everyone is comfortable with my awkward expressions. Sometimes I feel like I am just too much or maybe not enough and that something I did or said caused them to retreat, to pull away and I am left wondering is it how I love? Will I ever get it right? I am left wanting to retreat myself, to pull it all back, to go back into the mode of keeping it all to myself. I wonder if I can still fit back into that tiny box which stored my heart for so long.

Then, out of the blue, I am reminded that I am seen and held and loved by friends I have chosen in my life. They continue to show me that they choose to love me. I will meet a friend for brunch or receive a lovely text, a funny email or have a Facebook conversation and I am emboldened to love big and awkwardly and openly again and again and again. I am still re-learning. I am always trying to remember that though not perfect, when my intention is good and pure and there is no way to ever love wrong.

  1. i love everything about you and i love how you love … wishing i could give you a big hug because hugging you is so not awkward, it is so very loving. xo

  2. oh my dear. oh my word. i love you. i am so thankful to have you in my life. i “get” awkward. i “get” struggling not to push away connection. i SO “get” it. i am sitting here with weepy little tears. you are held in my heart. xo

  3. Valerie, this totally brought tears to my eyes as well. As usual, your words are open, insightful, raw and poignant all at the same time. Thank you for sharing your very personal thoughts and feelings because I know that I am not the only one who can relate…. I love your words and love you!!! XOX

  4. I love the quote you picked to begin your post. I used to feel like that little girl. Things have shifted for me over the last year and this is a great reminder for me of where I want to be. I feel myself opening up more and more and it is a conscious effort. I do forget and go back towards putting up walls however I find it is not as often. Thank you for your words! Thank you for sharing your story! You are love.
    Lots of love to you, Linda

  5. your love is so beautiful just as it is. And good.ness can i relate to both the print and it’s words, and also to that feeling you talk about after you have shared a bit of yourself…oh how I relate. I’m so happy to have you in my world. xo

  6. Valerie, this is beautiful! Love it….

  7. I totally agree with you that love is a conscious choice. A few years ago, and after (another) painful breakup, I felt the need to distance myself from others…mainly men…for fear that I would fall back into old (and unhealthy) relationship patterns. So I spent a year or so just learning to love myself again. But I remember vividly, a time when I journaled about being ready to get back into the game, to love again…and be loved (the hard part). I remember making a conscious choice to welcome love back into my life. It was shortly after that day that I met my (later to be) fiance. I often wonder if we would be together today had I not been ready & open at that time.

  8. This is so beautiful and raw and honest – thank you. Even after being married for 7 years, I still feel awkward with the way I love at times. Definitely so with friends. As I expand into greater love, I often feel I am too much and I too am that little girl – it strikes me at the strangest moments.
    One of my favorite Rumi quotes is the following: With life as short as a half-taken breath, don’t plant anything but love.
    big big love to you…

  9. What a beautiful post about love. It opened my heart right up. Love keeps this world swirling with so much beauty. It may not always be easy, but I always find it worth it. Even if it ends in a way we did not expect ~ the moments ~ the blissful moments ~ they always seem to be worth it for me. My life is a series of moments that are building on one another. Creating this beautiful structure of memories, that fill my heart and bring a smile to my face.

    Keep putting yourself out there and loving. Because it will open up a whole new world to you, that you may have not realized was just waiting to meet you.

  10. Oh, my dear. I so get this. I have been working on opening my heart, allowing myself to be vulnerable, and it is the hardest thing in the world for me and I mostly don’t know what or how to do it. It is somehow hopeful to know that I am not alone. Thank you.

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