What do you think about when you think about love? Hearts and kisses? Is it the people who you love? Do you think about the warm feeling your body gets when you love someone? That swooping feeling in your stomach when the one you love looks at you? Or is it the overwhelming, all consuming, world changing way that love makes you feel? Maybe it’s something else. I think love is patient, calm and kind. It is understanding how the other person feels and caring about that. I think love is ongoing and careful. Whatever it is that you associate with love, there is no denying that loving someone, I mean really loving someone, is like nothing else one can imagine. Love. This powerful emotion has been the topic of poems and songs for centuries and will continue, I’m sure, long after we are no longer here. So what makes it this way? How is it that another human can mean so much to you that their happiness becomes your happiness, their pain is your pain, their sadness is also yours, their success makes you excited, their accomplishments make you proud? How can you feel such a strong connection with someone that these things occur? These questions and many more have been rolling through my head of late.
Firstly, I think we need to consider that there are different kinds of love. I love my children and would do anything for them. I am always available to them and think about them every day. I miss them if I haven’t seen them for a while but I’m glad that they are independent and don’t need me. If you have grown children, I am sure you feel the same way. We love our family and friends too but it’s not the same kind of powerful feeling that we have when we are ‘in love’. Being ‘in love’ with someone is something very different. This kind of love makes you brave. It makes you stronger. This kind of love makes you a better person than you were before. It allows you to be yourself and allows the other person to do the same. This kind of love is quite remarkable.
While I certainly don’t claim to be any kind of expert on love, there are a few things that I believe. If you fall in love with someone:
- Tell them! This seems like common sense but I think that sometimes people get busy or caught in their own thoughts that they forget how important it is to tell people you love them. It shouldn’t ever be assumed that the other person knows. It shouldn’t be kept a secret or hidden. Life is too short to hide how you really feel. Tell them unashamedly that you are in love with them. It’s quite liberating.
- Give them your whole self! Loving someone with everything that you have is scary but if you hold back because of fear you might be missing out on the greatest thing that has ever happened to you. Keeping parts of yourself from that person doesn’t allow them to love you fully either.
- Just go with it! Nobody knows what their future holds but everything that happens does so for a reason. If you fall in love with someone, then you were meant to do it and you were meant to feel it. Allow yourself to feel and appreciate how wonderful it is to be completely besotted with someone. At the risk of sounding a bit Jedi, trust your feelings.
- Allow some time! If this is a new person in your life, give yourself, and them, some time to explore this new and wonderful emotion. This is tricky for me personally because I am so impulsive and am very happy to dive straight in but I have learned that this is not always the best strategy. Some people need time.
- Love them for who they are! Again, this sounds like common sense but I think many people try to change themselves when they’re in a relationship to meet the expectations of their partner or their own expectations of who they should be. Allowing someone you love to be themselves and loving them exactly how they are, even their imperfections, is the greatest gift you can give I think.
This is obviously not a definitive list but these are the ones that came to me today. I really hope that the person with whom you are in love gives you these things and that you give these things to them.