As much as I love being in love, I don’t want to speak of love exclusively as a feeling.
I want to keep reminding myself that love is an action.
And it is easy to take the love action when the love feeling is abundant and circumstances are ideal.
It’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish when they’re not. And this is where love, as an action, is so important.
Because love, as a feeling, is very hard to come by at those times.
Here are some things I have done, or wished I had done, or still hope to do, in order to love:
- put aside my pre-judgments about who I think someone is so that I can experience who they really are
- not respond in anger when I feel attacked
- believe that we are all doing the best we can, especially on the Monday morning subway ride downtown
- allow myself to believe that people change, even when my experience with them has been less that salutatory
- allow myself to believe that I change
- make room to hear that the other person has been hurt by me, as much, or more, than I have been hurt by them
- take a deep breath and move away from the email
- believe that the other person may want the same things that I do: respect, tenderness, someone to listen
- act as if we are all imperfect, including (and, here’s the shocker) me.
- modify my expectations (see the point, above)
- not believe that I am right and they are wrong (again, see above)
- not believe that I am in control; that there is “space for grace”
Touchy-feely this ain’t.
It means putting the ego in it’s proper place.
It means surrender. And not the kind of “I am your doormat” surrender. I have had my share of loving, but difficult, conversations in which I have spoken my truth, but in a way that could, I think, be heard. In a way that invited more conversation.
And sometimes, as a result, it’s gotten me to a new level of understanding, or relationship. Even more, to a new level of love, the feeling. Sometimes where it hardly existed before.
That, I think, is a miracle.