What is love? That’s a big question. All I can speak to is what it is in my own life. I also know that the answer to this question will change over time; love has an evolution of its own. When I think about love and how to define it, I think about great poets who have spoken about love in such beautiful ways, such as Rumi. So, humbly, I’ll attempt to answer this very important question, as I hope you also ponder: what is love in your life?
Love is Dropping Expectations
For me, I see love as my relationship to life. Life is love. Truth is love. No judgment is an expression of love. No expectation is an expression of love. Kindness and gratitude are expressions of love. Everything that surrounds me is an expression of love.
It’s easy to associate love with the feeling of a loved one, such as when my little boy gives me a hug, or feeling love through my husband’s eyes, or a good friend calling just to say “hello.” It’s more challenging when we have an idea or expectation of what love is supposed to look like and we put those rules and regulations onto the people in our lives. We also put expectations on life, itself. When we do this, we are constantly setting ourselves up for disappointment.
We think to ourselves, “Life is good only if the good stuff happens, and it’s bad if the good stuff doesn’t happen.” We are constantly judging whatever is happening, and missing out on the beauty of what’s actually happening.
Love is Accepting Both The Good And The Bad Times
In my life right now, love is my ability to witness and accept whatever is occurring exactly as it is, without expectation, judgement, or fear. That is love. My ability to trust that everything that happens, both the good and the bad, is love. Sometimes this love is in disguise as an enemy, an attack, or an event that triggers fears. But, I need to acknowledge that these occurrences are as much love as my little boy hugging me.
Knowing that life, itself, is love, then I can trust that whatever is happening is for the greater good. I’m learning to see the challenging parts of life as opportunities to ask myself, “What am I supposed to learn from this? What is the lesson here?”
Looking at my own judgement and taking responsibility for it takes a lot of discipline, but I believe practicing non-judgement and acceptance is love in action. This includes acceptance toward others, myself, and whatever is happening in my life. Love is dropping expectations and judgements, appreciating life exactly as it is, and seeking the lesson to be learned during the hard times. Oftentimes, it’s easier to simply accept what’s happening, shift my thoughts from judgement to acceptance, rather than trying to change or control my circumstances.
Love is Trusting And Listening to The Body
Also, throughout my life, my body has been a great teacher. Since it’s the only part of me that is tangible, there is great truth in the body. And, truth is love.
But, I didn’t always trust my body as a source of truth. I objectified it for a very long time, demanded many things from it. When I was sick, I distrusted it, but when I was healthy, I didn’t acknowledge it. When it gave me signals, I didn’t pay attention.
It was not until I became pregnant that I understood the wisdom of the body. I began to pay attention and realized the body’s incredible wisdom. Trillions of cells with intelligence, memory, and knowing. A knowing that is beyond the capabilities of my own mind.
My body has taught me so much, and the more I listen to it, the sweeter life is. The body tells us exactly what we need to do for well-being: what to eat, what not to eat, when to rest, and when to be active. Since my body provides this level of wisdom and truth, I feel that my body is love.
Conditional vs. Unconditional Love
I invite you to use the body to discover love for yourself. Start by discovering any judgments you have against your body – this is called “conditional love.” You only love your body under specific conditions, such as if it weighs a certain amount.
Love is letting go of conditions. For example, you may look at your partner and think, “If they really loved me, they would have behaved differently.” And, if you’re thinking this way toward your partner, you’re probably thinking the same way toward yourself, and to life itself. You only love yourself under certain conditions; you only love your partner when they act a certain way; you’re only happy if your life situations unfold the way you want them to. But, none of that is love. That is all conditional love. Love does not have conditions. Love accepts all people and circumstances exactly as they are.
My child has helped me to understand the difference between conditional love and unconditional love, because there are so little conditions toward that little guy.
In order to feel real love, we must take away all the conditions. Take away all of the “you love me only if you do this particular thing” or “I will love myself when.” If you took all that away, what would you have left? What would it look like? To truly understand love, you must first remove all these filters that give you a hazy vision, and diminish your ability to love and be loved.
Love is Who We Are at Our Core
This investigation of how you love or don’t love your body may lead you inward to discover the love that resides within your body. It is through movement that I have been able to go deep within and discover the love that resides in my soul. I believe love is my inner guidance; my gut telling me “don’t do or say that, you’ll regret it.” That inner guidance is love because I’ve learned that when I listen to that voice, love blossoms more and more in my relationships.
By consciously expressing love in all of these ways – not placing expectations or conditions on myself and others, trusting that life is unfolding as it should, and trusting my intuition as my guide – I gradually become more and more of what I am at my core, which is love in the purest form.