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Daily Share – What Does Love Look Like?

TDL_FB iconMost of my life has been difficult and painful; I made it that way, but I have chosen something different. Transitioning from a life of pain and suffering into a life of love and possibility involves a powerful chain of events. It is a gradual process not unlike peeling back the layers of an onion. When all those layers are peeled away, there is literally nothing left — nothing but space and love.

The first layer for me was recognizing my own co-dependency manifesting as a need to do for others what they could do themselves. I thought this was love. It is not loving to rob someone of his opportunity to learn for himself. It was predominantly my children who bore the brunt of this unhealthy thinking, and it caused many problems for my oldest son. Seeing his suffering forced me to begin seeking ways to heal myself, and I grabbed at anything that offered hope: therapy, Al-Anon, unhealthy friendships, and lots of books. My first marriage left me disillusioned and in a lot of pain, but I so wanted to be married – to experience a truly loving relationship. My Al-Anon sponsor encouraged me to write down exactly what I wanted in a partner and give my desire to God. I found a small wooden box in an antique shop and placed my list of all the qualities I wanted in a husband in the “God Box.” This was the first time I trusted the Universe to bring me my desire. I chose to believe that the love of my life was “out there.” If I just continued to believe, I would find him. I wouldn’t let myself believe otherwise.

The second layer required turning my attention to myself and figuring out how to make myself happy. I went to college, dated a LOT, learned to ride a motorcycle, participated in support groups, and began a teaching career. I found great joy in learning and peaceful solitude in riding my Sportster, but teaching seemed to take over my life. I wanted to be the best teacher I could be and even earned “Teacher of the Month,” but the personal sacrifices began to take a toll on me. It was at the end of this time period that I met this man I had trusted the Universe to bring me. When he proposed, I knew he was the one; he is definitely the love of my life. It would become clear to me during my next phase just how much I needed his love.

The next layer opened my mind to the idea of letting go of my dependency on antidepressant medication. It was something I felt called to do, and when my emotions began to seep out of me uncontrollably, I left teaching — so committed was I to the process of healing my need for this drug. This time period was my darkest, and I began to seek healing through spirituality in earnest. Ironically, it was during this time that my husband’s love for me carried me. I can remember days where I dissolved into tears and nights when I struggled to pull myself out of my depression. My husband never put me down, never criticized me; he just loved me though all of it. For the first time in my life, I saw love in action. He cooked for me, brought me coffee in bed, made me laugh – God, how he made me laugh! I can still see the compassion in his eyes as I struggled to process all of the emotions I was feeling. I had married my best friend.

Peeling back the next layer revealed a lesson in self-trust as well as trusting the Universe to meet our financial needs without my teaching income. I learned just how strong I was and how capable of meeting every single financial obligation. It was during this time that our business was born. In hindsight, I believe that I was beginning to give back to Terry all of the love he was giving me. I reminded him of how much talent he has and that he should not settle for less – that he deserves an abundance of money for his work. It was my vision that drove the engine of our business success. I knew that Terry had the ability; we just needed to somehow attract the work. We kept telling ourselves, “Our bills are always paid; we always have all of the money we need.” Miraculously, we have attracted work since that time and our income has doubled! Within a year, we were debt free (with the exception of my student loans).

As I move closer to my center, this next layer involves letting go of the negative relationships I have attracted to myself. A long-time acquaintance has said many times, “another person’s reaction to me says a whole lot more about them and their history than it does about me and mine.” She is wrong. This particular acquaintance was not always kind to me, yet I chose to call her “friend.” The fact that I would allow another person to treat me with contempt and disrespect definitely says more about me. Because I am a divine expression of God, I deserve to be treated with love, kindness, and respect. I choose to surround myself with people who value the privilege of friendship with me — who respect my boundaries, my feelings, and my inherent worthiness. I release all who do not. I choose people who see my talents, who support my dreams, who love me in even in my madness.

In peeling back all of these layers – the need to control others, the need to numb my pain, the need to “put up with” to fit in, indeed a need to hate myself all revealed deep down a need for self-love. We cannot love others when we cannot love ourselves — quite simply because we do not know how. Loving the self, forgiving the self for all of the flaws, the mistakes, the shortcomings, the embarrassing missteps is the gateway to attracting all of the love into your life you can stand! When we can forgive ourselves, we most definitely can offer forgiveness to others; this is the birthplace of compassion and of love.

What does love look like?

Love shows up in what we do for others.

Love forgives faults and imperfections.

Love is a warm hug or a hot cup of tea given with nothing expected in return.

Love respects another’s need to “go it alone,” to make one’s own decisions.

Love says, “You can do it! Let me tell you how wonderful you are!”

Love allows for differences of opinion.

Love respects all races, all beliefs, and seeks to see what we have in common rather than what divides us.

Love sees the value in every person no matter their education or skill set or history.

Love listens.

Love sees the beauty in every person.

Love is a gift we bring to the world.

 

Sending big ole’ bushels of love,

A TDL Reader

  • Eveline

    So beautiful. Thank you for inspiring me.

  • anonymous

    I was just having my devotions a few minutes ago when I noticed that TDL had new posts. My gosh, this was so inspiring in many ways. I love your honesty about your imperfections and how you came to a point of embracing all of you. I love how you have taken responsibility over what YOU needed to do and not go on about who caused this pain. I think many of us have lived long enough to realize that it doesn’t matter who did what or who said what, we just want a healing and figure out ways in which we can get to work without waiting for other people to say sorry or let me help you. In 2013, my main focus is on falling in love with myself, but like you mentioned, often times people do not know how. I just want to thank you for this post because in your own way, you have shown us how we can start taking those small steps to do so. I loved this so much that I had to read it twice, thank you soooo much 

  • Brencwbp

    Thank you so much for writing this.  I feel like I have lived a parallel life to yours however I am still peeling back the layers.  This post is now at the top of my inspirations and today I will place   my desires in an authentic partner in my special box. Much gratitude.

  • Medredith Henry

    that was absolutely beautiful. Thank you! 

  • Kerrymcd

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! It brings me hope!

  • Majestic

    Very inspiring and I appreciate the loving affirmations!

    Thanks for encouraging me to open.

    Majestic

  • red1gem

    Thank you for the hope you put out there for anyone who reads your lovely post.

  • NancyJoy

    Thank you for sharing.  Your story is my story.  You have confirmed and encouraged me that I’m on the right path.  I’m grateful that you allowed yourself to be vulnerable and share.  Thank you!

  • Yformel

    Beautiful story. Thank you!

  • Co gal

    My life has taken a dramatic turn towards love, light and living every moment to the fullest. It as if my soul has been awakened and I long for peace and harmony in all living
    creatures. I am drawn to the spiritual aspect of my life and look forward to learning something new everyday to help bring others the enlightenment that I am experiencing now. I lost my husband 3 years ago and we were both way too young. I was 47 and he was just about to turn 50. We had been together for 20 years. I had only one option and that was to find the truth in my life. I was faced with the unknown and was at a complete loss without the life I had known with him. I really had to get in touch with my self and so
    many lessons came fast and hard. It was an upheaval of the old me into the new being that I have become through all the hardships and loss. I can honestly say that I am the happiest I have ever been. I am grateful for every moment that I am here living and I vow to spread joy as far and wide as I can. Every day I have an opportunity to be the best person I can be. Pay it forward isn’t too hard for me or even out of my comfort zone. If I can make another person’s day better by the small things the better for us all. I long to see a world where everyone is equal and we all get along.

  • Riofriowoman

    Perfect timing for my current circumstances and how I am viewing myself going through them. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your heart. It has helped mine immensely. Many blessings to you!

  • Katie

    We are indeed a work in progress. I was raised with a mentally ill abusive mother who did not know how to love herself or others. My elder sister was driven to suicide, I myself as a teenager attempted suicide wanting the pain to stop. I have survived an 18 year abusive marriage and finally found the courage to get out when I was convinced I could never make on my own. The one message I had drummed into me was that “I was not worthy of love” It has taken me years to learn to love myself and am still grappling with this lesson. The one thing I have learned is compassion for those who have wounded me. Please do not confuse compassion and forgiveness with excusing a person’s actions against another… forgiveness really is more a release from the bonds of anger and pain that chained me to the wall. Forgiveness allows a person to heal and move on. Though my steps may be small, it is amazing to me that my heart is strong, refusing to become bitter and brittle. I finally can say to myself when doing a list of gratitude s.  “I am grateful for me” . Your story adds to my arsenal of what is possible when we connect with the divine and try to become more spiritual.  Blessings and Love to you my dear. 

  • Kate

    If I may ask, how did you meet your husband? I ask because I, too, have a God Box. I have put everything in there, and most have what I’ve “asked” for has come my way — in whatever ways/forms necessary. But I’ve yet to meet “him.” I’m remaining positive, of course, but I’m curious how you “found” your husband. :) Thank you.