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  • Andrea Armstrong

Love Is Just A Word Until Someone Gives It Meaning

It’s been said: Love is just a word until someone gives it meaning. Many of us have different meanings to love, because of our different experiences with love. The belief and meanings we put to love relates to our level of consciousness with love. All this will determine how we know love and thus how we will give and receive love.

Human love is either offered conditionally or unconditionally. If it’s conditional, it’s offered by desire to control the other person and have the relationship more on my own terms. The need for control is often driven by one’s fear and struggle with uncertainty and one’s insecurities.

Love requires a degree of vulnerability. This is healthy and important for a relationship to be dynamic and thrive. For many people, vulnerability is to be avoided, due to painful experiences in the past, in which we were vulnerable and through the difficult experiences, we felt embarrassed, judged, made fun of, shamed, etc. So for many, vulnerability means exposure, pain and shame. I’m afraid of letting you see the real me, because I believe you will make fun of me, judge me, not like me, or see me as not enough. To protect myself, I wear a mask and pretend.

I may judge, control, or hurt you, to make myself feel powerful and look good, because deep down inside, I feel so unloved, unworthy, and powerless. I judge and/or hurt you, because I am judging and hurting within me, my unconscious self. As fear is the absence of love, judgment is the withholding of love. This becomes the distorted, yet common meaning and way many people love.

The word intimacy means “into-me-see.” You can see me, without judgment or criticism. This allows me to feel safe, vulnerable and free with you. True and pure unconditional love is to feel free and authentic, while being in the presence of another person. The Buddhist monk and peace advocate, Thich Nhat Hanh said: “You must love in such a way, that the person you love feels free.”

In the falling in love stage, love is often unconditional, free flowing and the desire for “power with” the beloved.

I have the “hope” that my needs will be met. The falling in love stage lasts around 12 to 18 months. After the chemical, physical and emotional high fades, the couple begins to see each other with a different lens. The “hope” that my needs will be met, now turns to “expectation”, even demand that my needs be met. Love now turns to conditional, the need for “power over”, and the need to be right. This leads to power struggles, conflict, individual and collective relationship dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

Not realized in popular belief, the true purpose of relationship is to learn about yourself while being in relationship with another. Being with another person, in time, our weakness, vulnerability and wounds are going to be triggered, come to the surface and be acted out. Our natural instinct is to make the other responsible for this trigger and our wounds/hurts being exposed.

This is the great misunderstanding and error in relationship. Our hurts and wounds are just that, our hurts and wounds. So it’s up to us to recognize, reconcile and reframe these wounds for our own healing and growth. The trigger (the other person) is just showing us what’s not yet reconciled within us. Your partner should be understanding and supporting of what comes up, yet they should not be made responsible for what comes up and out. That’s our job and inner work to do. Relationships are dynamic and thrive when we are each attending to and owning our own wounds and healing these from within.

When you are aware of the meaning and self-belief you’ve created about love, you gain clarity as to why your relationships are the way they are in your life.

When you change your self-belief, meaning and focus about love to a higher more accepting form, you begin to change the energy and vibration of love within yourself and you will begin to attract a different version of love. This is the law of vibration (everything has a vibration, our thoughts and beliefs create a particular vibration).

Tips: Come to conscious awareness of the meaning and self-belief you’ve created about love.

Ask yourself:

  • In what ways does this meaning and belief promote unconditional love and acceptance?

  • Do you feel/see your relationship being one that has more power over or power with each other?

  • If it’s power over the other, what would I need to change for the relationship to feel and be more unconditional and have power with each other?

Answering these types of questions is the beginning to change your meaning and dynamic with love and relationships.


With love and service xx

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