New Year’s Revelation No. 1 of 7: Love without Reservations, Conditions or Expectations

open-your-heart

To love without condition, to talk without intention, listen without judging, to give without reason and to care without expectation.  This is the art of a true relationship”

~ Anonymous

It’s a new day and a new year, ladies and gentlemen! Yesterday is history. We can’t rewrite it, but we can learn from it. Today begins a new chapter in each of our lives. Embrace it with an open mind and a loving heart.

Love. It’s a simple word, really. Yet, sometimes we misuse it and, far too often, we (intentionally or unintentionally) misinterpret its meaning.

 Love — an over-used word?

How many times a day so we say “I love you” — to our children, as they go off to school each morning or to our significant others, and even to a family member, at the end of a phone call? I know, the premise behind the declaration is that we want our loved ones to know that they are loved. But, doesn’t the constant, repetitious utterance of the phrase somehow dilute its meaning? We say “I love you” just as often (and almost as automatically) as we say “Hi, how are you?” — to which the equally automatic response is “Fine, thanks. And you?”

Shouldn’t we savor the phrase and use it in moments that give it more meaning? Isn’t it more important to show someone that we love him/her, rather than tell him/her constantly? Incidentally, I do not mean to infer that giving someone a gift is necessarily a demonstration of love. Actions have far more impact than gifts. For example, when a mother of four is juggling multiple school/extracurricular activities schedules, keeping the house in tip-top shape, preparing home-cooked meals and managing to work from home … her husband could show his love by surprising her with breakfast in bed and taking the kids out on an excursion each Saturday, so his wife could have some quiet time to herself.

Let me share a personal story with you. Back in the first half of 2005, my mother was a permanent resident in a chronic care hospital. She was dying of cancer. Now, my mother and I always shared a special bond. I knew that she loved me and vice versa. But, one particular day stood out for me … and I weep, as I write this. She began to have bouts of dementia and she, along with some of the other patients (they all had similar illnesses) would often be seated in their wheelchairs in the lounge at certain times of the day. Many would dose off and others, like my Mum, would simply stare into space – expressionless. This one day, I visited her during one of these lounging hours. I got out of the elevator and saw her immediately, noting that her eyes had a far away look in them. When I was about ten feet closer to her, she focused her gaze on me and then, immediately, her eyes lit up. She smiled, giggled and clasped her hands in joy. And then, she said my name: “Heather!” We embraced. I stayed with her for hours and hours, just holding her hand and gazing at her, trying to memorize her face and that moment in time. No one had to hit me over the head with a bat, to tell me that my mother loved me. Just the way she looked at me, said it all.

That’s what I mean when I say “show” someone you love them. When a dear friend calls you on the phone, respond with a smile in your voice because you’re happy to hear from her. It makes a world of difference.

Love — its meaning is not that complicated, is it?

Love is not — should not — be complicated. It is what it is. We needn’t ascribe conditions, restrictions, expectations to it. That is not truly love. Some people are afraid to love because they fear getting hurt. Well, here’s a reality check: they will get hurt, we all do. However, that should not prevent us from loving. You see, only the people you love deeply have the power to hurt you, and vice versa. If someone says something negative about you, the impact of the criticism would not sting even a little compared to the hurt you would feel if the words were uttered by someone you love.

This is why we should honor the people who we love and who love us in return. It is so important to try not to abuse friendships and relationships. I say “try” because we are, after all human. We make mistakes. We say things before we think and can’t take the words back. What we can do, is say (and really mean it): “I’m sorry.”

Which leads us to another can of worms. Forgiveness. Aye, there’s the rub. True, it’s easier to love than to forgive. But, if we truly love, we must forgive. After all, isn’t that what loving without conditions, restrictions and expectations is all about? When a teenage child screams “I hate you!” with venom and blazing eyes at her parent, it feels like the blade of a knife. But, she’s your child and you love her, no matter what. You forgive her (and pray that this hateful rebellious phase will pass quickly!).

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”
~ Robert Muller

I chose “Love” to kick off the first of my 7 New Year’s Revelations this year because it is the most powerful human emotion (the other, of course, is hate … but I will not be touching that one).

So, dear readers, my wish for you, in 2013, is that you love well and with abandon (not to be confused with promiscuity!! ).

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 Image via charmedyoga.com.

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