Do You Know How To Love?By Dr. Margaret Paul
March 23, 2014
Love is not something that can be described - it needs to be experienced, and when you experience it through loving yourself, you will know how to love.
We read many things about what love is and what it isn't to help us understand love. But love is not something we can understand with our mind. Until we experience it, we don't actually know how to love or how to experience it in our lives.
Is it love when a parent allows a baby to cry and cry, to get them on a schedule or get them to sleep? No!
Is it love when a parent hits a child and says, "I'm doing this because I love you"? Of course not.
Is it love when a spouse gets angry with his or her partner for not wanting to make love, saying, "If you love me, you will have sex with me"? Obviously not.
Yet these people might believe that they are being loving - that they know how to love.
If it doesn't feel good and right, then it's not love. (Except for Toughlove, which might not feel good in the moment, but still feels right inside).
This is true both on the inner level and in relationships. When what we tell ourselves and how we treat ourselves feels bad inside, then it's not love. When how someone else is treating us feels hurtful inside, then it's not love. When how we treat others doesn't fill us up with peace and joy, it's not love.
The sad truth is that most people don't know how to love themselves or how to love others because they have never experienced what love actually is.
Just like you can't describe a color to a blind person, you can't adequately describe love to someone who has never experienced it. We can use many words, such as:
- It feels safe and nurturing
- It feels full and fulfilling
- It feels happy and joyful
- It feels calm and peaceful
- It feel exciting, alive and vibrant
- It feels light, flowing and creative
- It feel connected and embracing
- It feel fun and pleasurable
- It feels big
We can say all these words and maybe even get a sense of what it feels like, but until you actually feel it, you don't truly get it in your heart and soul.
So how do we get an experience of love - and learn how to love - if we have never experienced it?
Sometimes, we need to be held by a loving person to a get the experience of love. This often happens at my 5-Day Intensives, and participants frequently say, "This is the first time I've ever experienced love," – from both the experience of being lovingly held and from the experience of spending five days feeling fully supported rather than judged. Most people have little experience with being surrounded by the energy of love when with other people.
However, the truth is that we are always surrounded by the energy of love, since love is the energy of the universe. Love is what God is, what Spirit is. When you fully open your heart to loving yourself and others, and to learning moment by moment about loving action toward yourself and others, you open yourself to the experience of love from your Source - and this is how you learn to love.
Anita Moorjani, in her book, "Dying To Be Me," shares her near-death experience, where she experienced this profound love. She stated that if she had to sum up her experience in two words, it would be to "love yourself."
It's when you open to learning about loving yourself that you open your heart to allowing in the love of the universe. While it's wonderful and very healing to experience love from another person, you don't need to wait for that to know what love is or to learn how to love – you can know and learn directly from the Source of Love. In fact, the more you open to allowing love in from Spirit, the more experiences you will have of being able to share love with others.
We can all know in our hearts and souls what love is - when we open to it. When you let it in and feel it in your being, then you will be able to share it. You will know how to love.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.
Photo by Brigitte Tohm
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Begin each day with setting your intention for the day. What do you want? Do you want to walk in love, peace and joy? Do you want to be present in the moment, connected with yourself and in oneness with Spirit? Do you want to be kind and compassionate? Creative and productive? Open to learning each moment? Think about who you want to be and set your intention for the day - out loud.
By Dr. Margaret Paul