What if we learned early on that the quality of our relationship with the other, depends wholly on the quality of our relationship with ourselves?
What if there was a way to learn that to offer our love to another, is to come from a place of love for and within ourselves? To connect with another’s pain is to first have a connection with our own pain. That to be there for someone in a challenging time, hold space and offer support, is to also be able to offer all of that to ourselves?
Most often, our training/conditioning is of a “selfless” definition of love. But it is unsustainable, and difficult to truly be present for another with the belief that the only way to love them is to “make things better”.
To be there for someone, share their experiences and offer loving support is to sometimes just participate in a moment. To be present fully. Without fixing. Or contributing. To acknowledge our limitations, our helplessness, and the pain of this in relationship.
If we came at love from a softer place that didn’t hinge on “doing” things to avoid this, and instead focused on “being” in love, in pain, in joy, in grief, in helplessness, we would know how much practice it takes to be able to sit with all of this within ourselves first. And how much better our relationships can be for it.
The thing nobody tells us is how love is an experience so closely linked to pain. To know love is to also know pain. Intimately. Within and without.
Probbaly my most favourite quote on love, is a thought on an alternative definition of it, by Glennon Doyle Melton, in her book Love Warrior.
…we think our job as humans is to avoid pain, our job as parents is to protect our children from pain, and our job as friends is to fix each other’s pain. Maybe that’s why we all feel like failures so often — because we all have the wrong job description of love. What my friends didn’t know about me…Is that people who are hurting don’t need Avoiders, Protectors, or Fixers. What we need are patient, loving witnesses. People to sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in helpless vigil to our pain.