Love is in the air! As Valentine’s Day approaches, we prepare for the most special day of the year when love is celebrated – but how do we know that we are loved and how can we best express our love to those closest to us? Because love and loving, in all its many forms, is not taught in schools while we are growing up, we imbibe from our parents and extended family, many ideas about love which might not be healthy because we do not have good role models. Romantic films, books and popular songs do not help our understanding either. When two complex people come together to communicate their love for each other, there is often a mismatch. In life partnerships, one might want move to the country, the other might want to stay in the city; one might want a busy social life, the other might be more solitary; one might be very ambitious, the other laid back. How are these conflicts to be resolved? Does one partner always get their own way and the other acquiesces? Does one manipulate while the other becomes angry? Does one partner have staying power while the other is prepared to leave? Many of these questions are hard to answer but talking about needs for affection, attention, caring and thoughtful consideration and co-operation are part of a good and wholesome loving relationship. Negotiation is usually the answer, where both parties receive some of what they want whilst honouring the equality of the needs of the other person.
Love which comes from a place of neediness tends to be self-centred and demanding. Union with another can seem threatening to some and many are insecure about their ability to love and be loved. Can you imagine two people who want to love each other but do not know how to, spending their lives together, through all the trials and tribulations which life brings, arguing, competing, hurting and holding in the pain, only to find that, if one dies, the other is inconsolable with distress? The tragedy of many lives across the world is filled with scenarios such as these.
Most psychologists and therapists believe that until we have a sense of our own self-worth, we will have difficulty valuing of our loved ones. Love is a mature emotion, requiring many skills and abilities. It is also a spiritual quest to give to the beloved our personal values, such as patience, kindness, forgiveness and consideration. Love is a precious and beautiful emotion. It has the power to heal and to help us recover from illness. It also has the capacity to help us to be successful in our achievements. Love does not just exist in romantic terms, but takes place between friends, neighbours, work colleagues and others. We can have love for our pet, for trees in buds, for wild animals, and for our planet. We can have a love of learning, of dancing – there are so many aspects of love for us to enjoy and expand.
This is a short exercise from the book ‘Deep Equality – Living in the Flow of Natural Rhythms’ by Jocelyn Chaplin titled Love under Will: Send love consciously, starting with someone you are (or were) in love with, moving on to similar others, yourself, and then to people you have difficulties with. You bring their image into your mind. Then you open your heart as if there were 2 little doors and visualise loving energy as a stream going from you to them. Quietly you whisper ‘I love you (or me).
Article by Wendy Stokes: Wendy Stokes and Jocelyn Chaplin are co-facilitating a day workshop ‘Celebrating Love’ (not just for romantics!) at Clearly Destiny, Central London, WC1H OJL on Saturday 8th March 2014 11am – 5pm No experience needed. Cost £60. Booking line: 0207 387 0358