In this time of harsh realities, polarizing themes and political opinions, and conflict in seemingly every corner of modern life, finding love is perhaps more important than ever before. What does the image of “finding love” evoke for you? I’m guessing that most people who consider that endeavor are thinking of romantic love, complete with heart and flowers and, ultimately, a ring. I want to challenge you to expand your understanding of love, and allow for the infinite sources of love that exist in the universe.
Love is a state of mind and of being…love is eternal…love is omnipresent…love is like oxygen! And love doesn’t require a partner to be beautiful and real. It starts with loving oneself. So often, we speak in the most unkind and unloving manner to ourselves. We actually talk to ourselves more than we talk to anyone else and, no, that doesn’t mean schizophrenia. I’m referring to self-talk and inner dialogue.
Stop for a moment and think about what you’ve been saying to yourself today. Is the transcript full of judgment, ridicule and shaming? Would you speak to a friend or, for that matter, the cashier at Target like that? We can be our own worst enemy and that habit of negative self talk affects our confidence, our emotional state and even our physical health. Be your own champion and filter that unkind inner dialog. Challenge your inner voice and soften the edges on those harsh judgments. Choose loving, supportive words: “I am disappointed in the outcome, but I did my best” or “I could’ve given a better response, and I’ll take time to choose my words in the future.” These are alternatives to, “I’m so stupid, why do I always screw up?” or “I’m always saying the wrong thing!”
Love is a compass, too. A lot of you may not know this, but we typically make decisions out of love or out of fear. We may not recognize fear when it’s disguised as comfort with a dysfunctional, yet familiar relationship, or when it masquerades as resistance to change jobs or move geographical locations. Comfort zone is, in reality, immobility due to fear. Love, on the other hand, doesn’t always feel comfortable because it suggests growth, change and taking action. Love is the decision to believe in yourself and go back to school for the career you’ve dreamed about, but that you thought was unattainable. Love is accepting that invitation to sing in your friend’s wedding, or clearing your schedule and taking that trip to Italy that you think you can’t afford. Taking the easy road is rarely the best route, and it usually involves fear. Tune in to your inner GPS and make LOVE your preferred route.
It’s sometimes hard to find love when most of what we see feels fearful and even hateful. Our culture is so divided, and seems to be becoming more so as we witness racism, polarizing politics, unimaginable human suffering, climate change… But we can still find and feel love through acts of simple kindness, connecting with nature, and otherwise grounding ourselves. The news stories are sensationalized to elicit a shock response, but there are as many or more stories of triumph and connection, healing and reunion, rescue and safety. Like Mr. Rogers famously said, Look for the helpers, there are always people who are helping during crises. As we were recently reminded at the 20th anniversary of 9/11, it was so heart warming to see the firefighters, police force and volunteers who flooded in to help after the terrorist attacks, and the medical personnel who have tirelessly been helping through the COVID pandemic. Be deliberate in what you allow yourself to focus on, and counterbalance the bad news with positive truths. It helps to have an affirmation like, “Although there is sadness in the world, I choose to be hopeful and kind.” “I am supported by my higher power. I release fear and choose love.”
Find love by opening your heart chakra. It’s located just where you’d think—at the center of your chest. When the heart chakra is blocked, we can feel defensive, critical, afraid and possessive. An open heart chakra encourages acceptance of others, compassion, and self-acceptance. The heart chakra’s color is green, so this color is pivotal in opening and inviting love. Visualize a strong, clear green light as energy that fills your heart center. Get outside where it’s green; connect with nature. Allow yourself to be loved and acknowledge that you are lovable. Practice yoga to open your heart chakra and balance all the chakras. And finally, give to others in a kind and loving way. The best way to feel love is to give of yourself and your time. Celebrate the love you have, in all its forms, today and always.
If you’ve lost your way and find it hard to love yourself because of depression, grief, anxiety or a life transition, the skilled therapists at Life Skills Resource Group are here to help you adjust your GPS. Go to the “Our Team” website page and select a therapist with whom to arrange a free consultation. Your heart may likely begin to feel lighter right away.