5.9

When it Comes to Love, I Think We’ve been Doing it Backward.

love comes first
First love, then like.

We’ve been holding back, making it hard and second guessing who is supposed to get our love and when we are supposed to give it to them.   

So, to simplify things, I have been thinking about love like those wacky people who eat dessert first—because I think they are actually on to something!

I think our problem is we think love comes after like. 

How about trying it the other way around?

For a few months, I’ve been trying out the concept of loving everyone. Love thy neighbor, right? Yes, love your neighbor, the guy who cut you off in traffic, your deadbeat baby’s daddy, the boss that just fired you—everybody!

Sounds difficult but it’s just a shift in thinking.   

Since I started loving everyone, it’s increased my powers of empathy, which in turn helps me with a lot of life’s stressors. It’s hard to get mad at people when you train your brain to put yourself in their shoes before you start hating on them. It helped me get through a painful break up, see the bright side of my car breaking down and added a fun twist to a new romance. 

Yes, I told him I loved him on the 2nd date and no he didn’t run away.

The other day I was explaining my new “abundant heart” experiment to a friend and they said, “How can I love everyone when I don’t even like everyone?” 

Good point! But that’s when it hit me—you don’t have to like everyone, you just have to love them. 

Like comes second and it’s reserved for only a small few.   

Think about it. Don’t we all have family members that we love but we don’t like? We care about them and we want the best for them, but we can only take them in small doses because frankly, we don’t really like them. 

And have you ever loved someone romantically but then your feelings changed and you wanted to end the relationship, yet you still loved them? It’s because you no longer liked being around them like you used to but you still cared about them. 

You see, the love didn’t fade, it’s always there. The “like” went away. It’s the “like” that draws us to another person and takes the relationship to the next level.

Have you ever started a romance and felt like you loved the person on the very first day you met them?  But you didn’t say anything because you felt it was too soon? 

What if we all said “I love you” on the first day?  That would be beautiful? 

And then later on, when the timing was just right, you could whisper in your loved one’s ear, “Hey honey, I really, really like you.”

Okay, that’s corny I know. 

But, we make love more than it is, which ironically means we are giving less and less of it out. 

Love is abundant and infinite. It cannot be cheapened or lessened by giving it out too soon or in too big of a dose.

So, for anyone who’s currently dating, I’d like you to consider trying this out. 

Ask yourself if the way you’ve been falling in and out of love all your life is truly you or if you’re just doing it the way your parents did it or how they do it in the movies.   

If you want to take a chance and see how abundant and limitless your love really can be and if you want to test and check to see how enormous the return is when you don’t hold back, try handing out an “I love you” on the first or second date. (Gasp! I know!)

If they say, “How could you love me when we’ve only just met?” then explain that you love everyone. 

Now, some will argue that this can scare some people away but I challenge that thinking and say that it’s not the love that people are afraid of. 

Who could be afraid of pure love

What people are really afraid of is what usually comes with romantic love: loss of freedom and increased expectations. 

So before you try this experiment you must ask yourself, “can I love someone without taking away their freedom?”

Is it possible for me to love a person so they are welcome to live their life in any way they see fit? Are you willing to let the beloved be themselves in their truest form, no matter how it makes you feel?

I think we all have this capacity—to love people exactly as they are. 

Whether or not we can like people exactly as they are is another story. 

That is why it makes more sense to love first and like second. 

Most of us only like a small handful of people here on this earth but I truly believe we have the capacity to love everyone and wish for them all the very best this life has to offer. 

Loving everyone doesn’t take a lot of energy—it’s just a big shift in thinking.

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Relephant:

The Whole Point of Every Relationship (is probably not what you think it is).

Joyful ways to reconnect with the present moment:

Love elephant and want to go steady?

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Author: Lealyn Poponi

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickrflickr

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Afton Oct 19, 2015 7:01pm

Cute idea, but to have someone im dating say they love me just because they love everyone would be a little offensive. It’s like saying I’m not any more important to them than their neighbour. Very awkward.

Melina Aug 6, 2015 10:50pm

Hmm…I like parts of this idea, but I still like to reserve the word love for a very particular feeling and would feel fake if I just told everyone I loved them. But, I like the idea of not feeling afraid to say, I love you, early on if you feel it immediately. Many of the boys at the nightclubs I used to go to applied this approach and I must say they catch my attention. 😉 But, I think they were only feeling infatuation really.

Rachel Aug 6, 2015 9:53pm

Truly beautiful. You put into words what we've (hopefully!) subconsciously known all along. Love- from another Elephant Journal-er

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Lealyn Papaya

Lealyn Papaya is a curious lover of life who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. Recently she “consciously uncoupled” with her husband of 9 years and now enjoys pondering and studying the art and meaning of love by diving into the teachings of OSHO, Rumi and Thich Nhat Hanh. She is challenging herself and others to drop limiting beliefs about love that have been passed on for generations. In addition to writing, she enjoys practicing circus arts, eating vegan food, starting cuddle puddles and causing a scene. To find out more about Lealyn, please visit her website.