I used to think of using “I love you” as this exclusive special thing you only said to certain people. Keeping that number small and intimate meant that the love was that much more valuable and precious. “I love you” was a huge level of commitment, and not just in a romantic sense. This was any way that someone now entered the innermost sanctum of connection. And it was not to be taken lightly.
I understand now that my perception of this commitment came with a list of expectations, stipulations and attachments. Reserving it for this private, elite club whose members had proven themselves worthy enough to receive such an honor.
Now to some (my former self included) this seems like a solid plan. Protect, be cautious, stay on the defensive. Be like the stoic beefy bouncer at a swanky nightclub who only lets certain people in, and in a controlled and gradual fashion.
What I’ve realized now though, is that this policy wasn’t serving me very well. Instead of welcoming in the exclusive members and treating them like royal VIP, I would actually end up holding a lot of resentment towards these people over time.
I also didn’t have a solid idea of what Love as a value really meant to me. For so long, I operated under the assumption it’s what you felt for blood relatives (because you had to) and for a very select few of romantic partners you might encounter before finding your one and only.
The type of love I use to operate under set me up for a lot of disappointment. This is because the love was conditional. I gave it under certain conditions and I felt it based on how others treated me. It meant that they had to behave in a certain way, under the binding contract of love that I agreed to let them enter. If they stepped a toe out of line, my world came crashing down. This type of love depended heavily on how people acted, rather than a love than already existed within myself.
The concept of love has totally shifted for me over the years. How? Through seeing different love styles and opening myself up to learning from others and the possibilities around love. It also shifted as a result of my own journey of loving myself completely. Once I started being more intentional around how I loved myself, it influenced how I loved others.
As my #3 value, I see now love as the choice of the spirit to deeply connect without attachment or fear. This is basically the opposite of how I utilized love in the past. It was a thoughtless choice of the mind or a rash choice of emotions. I was telling people I loved them, but wasn’t really connecting deeply, because most the love agreements contained a ton of attachment and fear. Attachment to having people in my life in a certain way, fear that their love might be taken away or that I might not love them enough.
My love is no longer conditional, or a scarce resource – because I create the love. I generate that loving energy – that choice of spirit. And because I experience it so powerfully within myself, it’s just further magnified when I get to experience and share it with others. With love there is no lack. Love is in abundance.
Now I love lots of people, and make it a point to tell them. I can love you without knowing you, and without precept. If I understand myself to be this abundant, loving energy, then I understand that no one can take it away or diminish it. To deny someone else love is to deny myself.
So no more of this, “I love you, BUT….” or “I don’t love you anymore.” Nah. Doesn’t work like that. When you love, you love. Unconditionally. Abundantly.