At the start of 2011 I wrote a post entitled 5 Things I Learned from Falling In Love which I reposted on this blog a few month’s ago. It’s now the season of hearts and I’ve learned a couple more things. I found out a couple of weeks ago that a writer friend of mine-Eugene Soyosa reads my blog! *goshI Feeling ko super sikat na ko. So I’m dedicating this post to him, just coz.
1. Love doesn’t happen in a minute.
One of my friends had this as the status of his instant messenger…and upon reading it, I nodded my head in agreement. I think that infatuation, attraction, ‘clicking’ with someone happens almost at an instant but the deep love whether filial, platonic or romantic that sustains relationships take time. It is a feeling that moves one to make a choice and a choice that enables the feeling to be sustained. Feeling happens in an instant, but choosing to love takes a while…you have to clear away the clutter first.
2. Real love is a permanently self-enlarging experience. – M. Scott Peck, O Magazine, February 2004
Love stretches you…it leads, nudges and sometimes kicks you to the outskirts of yourself where you and the other engage. If you are willing, the experience of loving someone whether a brother, a friend or a partner calls you to make choices that are greater than yourself…that test your present self. It compels you to relate to the person you love with greater empathy, acceptance, understanding, forgiveness, patience, humility…but as M. Scott Peck frames, this generosity of self is only possible in the experience of real love.
3. Love and fear are frequent travelling companions.
Reflecting on my own experiences of love, I note that in the face of love I have also faced my fears. To love truly, one must open up oneself to the other – you. And in that face the fear of discovering yourself and the rejection of the other person. In choosing to love someone-including accepting his/her flaws and your incompatibilities, you face the fear of losing control…of letting go of the other’s response (whatever it will) to your love. In giving the person you love time, support, effort – pieces of yourself, you inevitably face the fear of being consumed by the other person – losing yourself. Yet if the other truly loves, he/she will not allow that to happen.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.- 1 John 4:18
In the end, to really love and be loved you gotta get over your fear. The vulnerability you feel sheds light on the parts of yourself that you need to work on.
4. Knowing the 5 Languages of Love is invaluable in relationships.
So many relationship problems happen because of communication problems…sometimes its because one is close minded or the other is too focused on himself…but what if both parties are sincerely giving their all to understand the other person to no avail. According to Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, the two parties are not ‘speaking the same language.’ One is speaking in English and the other in French.
There are 5 Love Languages:
- Words of Affirmation: You feel loved when you receive compliments. In return you make others feel loved by sharing your good thoughts about them. You value the spoken and written word. Being told – I love you, I’m sorry, You’re beautiful and hearing why the other feels that way sends you soaring.
- Quality Time: Basically this means you greatly appreciate the attention of the other person, and likewise you also express your love by showering the person you love with your presence. You are the kind of person that will not be distracted by other things when you’re with someone you love: everything else is on hold.
- Receiving Gifts: The thoughtfulness and effort of the gift giver makes you feel loved. Gift giving means that the other person has knows you, cares about you and is willing to make the effort to seek out and deliver a gift to you. Gifts don’t have to be expensive and extravagant but sincere and meaningful.
- Acts of Service: Helping each other out with the day-to-day things is an act of service. You express your love by making your partner’s load lighter, sharing responsibilities.
- Physical Touch: Obviously, you are a touchy person. You like being affectionate and cuddly. You like holding hands, hugging, touching the shoulder, etc. You find comfort in a loving caress.
If you know your love language then you can guide your partner into making you feel more loved in a way that you can appreciate it. For example, if you appreciate acts of service then you can say – I really feel loved when you carry my things for me.
If you know your partner’s love language then you can express your love in a way that he/she will appreciate more. For example, if your partner’s love language is receiving gifts then you can get him/her something even when there’s no occasion just to show that you love him/her.
Imagine how much more loving your relationships would be just by communicating in the same language.
5. Love is measured by fullness and not by reception.
I think every person has been a recipient of acts that are not loving. It hurts us and pains us and we become conscious of the need to protect ourselves – of the need to ‘make sure’ that our love is reciprocated, otherwise why bother?
And yet anyone who has loved fully, knows that ‘reciprocity’ while wonderful is not a requirement for loving someone. Ideally one loves because one loves and not because one is loved (though loving and being loved is mutually reinforcing). As Harold Stokes says: “An act of love that fails is just as much a part of the divine life as an act of love that succeeds, for love is measured by fullness, not by reception.”
Happy love month everyone!