Do you find yourself endlessly chasing after what you love, only to end up back where you started? To round off this month's theme about love, here are a few tips to identify what love ACTUALLY is. As you've probably noticed, in the past few weeks, love has been the talk of the town. In my own life, sure, but also around us, mainly thanks to Sochi 2014 highlighting LGBT love, and the Valentine's Day surge of hearts, chocolates and roses.
I've been having some very powerful conversations in the past few weeks with some incredible teachers, and am gaining more and more clarity on the meaning - and the true feeling - of love.
The ideal, romantic, future-oriented man I was at the beginning of February has led way to a far more grounded, aligned and relaxed one.
Want to hear about how you too can align yourself with the true love contained within?
Understand your definition of love
The first thing is to identify your definition of love, and the stories you might be telling yourself about the subject.
Because many people have a very skewed idea of what it is.
I mean, it's not really a surprise when you think of it...
We grew up reading fairytales about princesses being rescued from their awful lives by some hunky prince - and riding off for ever ever after.
We hear crazed teenagers and messed up singers release song after song of melodramatic - although highly addictive - mush.
We overdose on Hollywood's version of romance whenever we turn on our TV.
The truth is, this can create a subconscious ideal to which we compare our lives.
And so it's little surprise that people strive for a utopic version of love. An ill, misinformed and unhealthy breed that can sound a bit like this:
"He completes me" "When she isn't here I feel like a part of me has been ripped out" "I wish I could be with him every single second of every single day...why hasn't he texted me back yet!?"
We've been led to believe that love is something external to us, like a missing piece of a jigsaw. And that we need to find this lost piece in order to be complete, to be whole. Then - and only then - will our troubles be over and will we reach the finish line, the land of ever ever after.
But the fact is, if we allow ourselves to think and feel that way, we end up creating that reality: another person comes into our life with what completes us, i.e. what we think we are missing.
Suddenly we feel whole again, we feel alive, we feel one.
The trouble is, we become dependant on the other to feel that way. When the relationship ends or the other person is far away, it's as if that missing piece has been ripped out of us.
Heartbreak occurs. Depression creeps in. We close ourselves off to love once more, like a tortoise retreating back into its shell.
Take a minute to reflect on what your current love story is. Are you waiting for your Prince Charming to come and whisk you away from your current reality? Are you expecting a tall dark stranger to come and fill you bleak life with joy and colour? Are you longing for The One to come and complete you?
Now, I'm not telling you not to believe in your Prince Charming, your dark stranger or The One - quite the opposite, in fact. But what I am saying is to be wary of the stories you've been telling yourself about love, and especially those about why you NEED it, or why you CAN'T have it.
Once you've done so, the next step is to look at what love REALLY is.
Before we go any further, let me first tell you one thing: you ARE love.
At your very core, the very essence of your being, you are love. Undying, unconditional, unlimited love.
Sure, I could bore you with the science behind it, but I'd rather you experience it for yourself:
Remind yourself of a situation in which you felt angry, sad or fearful. Embody the sensation fully: say yes to it, feel it within the body, describe it to yourself. Ask yourself: What is this about? Then ask yourself: What lies beneath it? As you tune into it and feel it fully, you'll drop into a deeper layer. Keep repeating the same process. You may pass through various layers (sadness, hurt, anger, fear and despair), before eventually feeling a powerful emptiness, and finally pushing through into a sensation of love.
Because that, my friend, is what lies at your core: love.
So trying to "get" love through a body shape, a relationship or a new car kind of defeats the point, right? And will never feel anything like what you can experience by going within.
Instead of looking for someone to complete you, look for someone who will allow you to step back into your love. Someone who will inspire you to face the darker layers you've built upon yourself. Someone who will love every single part of you, and allow you the space to be all of them.
Look for a mirror into your depths, not a band aid onto your wound.
How to recognise love
Recognising love takes training. Just like reps at the gym, it takes practice, dedication and effort to access it, listen to it and act on it.
But believe me when I say it can be done: years ago I was completely disconnected from both my heart and my body. Now I feel more aligned than ever, in tune with my own love.
Here is what love REALLY is, and here are three of it qualities:
Truth: your heart knows when you're making a mistake or when you're acting out a story. It also knows exactly what you want and what you need to do.
Real love shines a spotlight onto your old stories and brings them to your awareness for you to let go of. There is a distinct feel to it: a sense of knowing, of truth, of clarity. Learn to connect to what "rings true" within your body.
Ruthless compassion: your heart loves you and everything that exists. Because it also knows what is true, it has the capacity to make decisions that may appear ruthless to the untrained eye, but that in fact are born out of pure unconditional love.
You may for example choose to step away from a friendship or relationship that is not serving either of your two hearts: not from lack of love, but from absolute compassion and love for the other.
Practice connecting to that compassion within you, and expressing yourself from a place of love - in any situation.
Depth: in order to find the love within, you must undertake a journey to your core. By doing so you have to unpeel the layers of stories and find the truth. Real love has the courage to dive deep within, because it knows that what is on the other side of your fear or anger is exquisite.
Your Ego often struggles with what your heart wants. It may take the essence of what you love and skew your perception of it.
My Ego for example was obsessed for years with physical appearance, and the way a body LOOKED. But what I've recently realised is what my heart loves is in fact the way someone is in their body: connected, grounded and deeply embodied.
With real love, you'll discover a level of depth you could not foresee, but that once uncovered will ring true, true, true.
Now its your turn: I'd love to hear your own stories about love, and what you learnt by reading this blog post. Just leave a comment below with the one learning you got from the article.
As always, please LIKE and SHARE this post with your friends and colleagues.
Love & Health, Will x