April 16, 2021

What Love is (& is Not).

“Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to.” ~ Unknown


Love in its truth is a truly beautiful thing.

There are so many gifts and blessings we gain from love, and there are so many lessons we can learn through the sheer pain, hurt, and sadness of love.

At its core, love is vulnerability. To love is to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable is to courageously open yourself up to the pure rawness of your emotions and your feelings. It’s to be metaphorically naked, baring your soul, knowing the other person can break you, but being prepared to do it anyway. Being prepared to give it your all. Mind, body, and spirit.

Real love is honest. It’s raw and messy. Completely imperfect. It’s the ability to have difficult conversations. Truthful conversations, no matter how painful they maybe, because without truth, love has no solid foundation. It’s about transparency where words and actions align. Words mean nothing without actions.

Until we start having honest conversations about who we truly are, the demons we battle, our deepest secrets, what we lack, and what we deeply desire, love will continue to be a temporary emotion.

The illusion of truth can be a dangerous thing—that leads to an illusion of love.

I’ve given my heart in romantic love three times in my life. My first young love and my two adult loves. I have seen the absolute magic in love, and I feel grateful that love has taken me to the highest peaks.

It’s shown me the most stunning of places I never knew existed. It’s made me feel an indescribable beauty, a warmth, a safety, a peace. It’s drawn me in like a magnet and showered me with a passion and energy that filled me to my core. It’s made me realise, sometimes homes are not four walls and a roof but the arms of a person.

I am so much richer from loving and being loved.

But love has also shown me despair. It’s delivered me pain on a scale I never imagined. It’s shattered my feeling of safety and trust and left me knotted with anxiety and crippling grief, homeless in the midst of a typhoon. It’s made me question the words people say because words are just words. It has shaken my faith in myself and caused endless sleepless nights and tearstained cheeks.

It has taken my soft, delicate, and generous heart carefully out of my chest and left it trampled, bloody, and broken on the ground.

These are the lessons we learn. Love is one of our greatest teachers. It teaches us about human behaviour; it teaches us about ourselves, our vulnerabilities, our courage, and our resilience. If we do the hard inner work, it has the ability to teach us about forgiveness, understanding, and compassion. The greatest gift is to find and understand the lessons and use them to grow.

Love is not controlling, nor is it possessive. Love is a relationship not ownership. It’s not manipulative, deceptive, or secretive. Need, ego, attachment, lack of boundaries—these are all toxic traits. Don’t confuse them for love.

The most heartbreaking of lessons we learn through love is when to hang on and when to let go.

There is this belief, this societal pressure and judgment, that sees relationship breakdowns, particularly marriage breakdowns, as failures. As people giving up. But sometimes, the best thing for everyone is to let go. It’s not giving up; it’s being self-aware enough to realise when to fight and when to surrender. When one soul has left, hanging on is the most harmful thing to do. If the relationship is toxic, it’s time to let go. If it’s not mutual love, it’s time to let go.

Sometimes loving someone means letting them go—if they no longer want to stay. This is love and this is respect. Manipulating someone to stay, or lying to protect yourself in a relationship screams of toxicity. As does trying to control the outcome of the relationship. This is not love.

We live in a world where people feel the need to be in a relationship. They move from one relationship to another, without healing or growing. Without working on their toxic traits. They think they are looking for love, but the truth is, they cannot be alone. They need to be with someone. They need to cling to someone with this false belief this will bring them happiness. If you are not whole and happy alone, you are not going to be whole and happy in a relationship. This is not love.

Don’t be afraid to love and be completely vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to be alone. Don’t be afraid of honesty and the hard stuff. Don’t be afraid to let go. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to follow your soul.

Be afraid of settling because that’s where passion dies. Be afraid of holding on when it’s not what you want—because that’s when resentment sets it. Be afraid of not going after what you truly desire. Be afraid of the illusion of truth.

Are you really happy, or just really comfortable?

“If you truly love someone, then the only thing you want for them is to be happy. Even if it’s not with you.” ~ Unknown


Read 8 Comments and Reply

Read 8 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Michelle Schafer  |  Contribution: 83,855

author: Michelle Schafer

Image: Natalia Sobolivska/Unsplash

Editor: Lisa Erickson