Love is good, right? So… more love is better?
The quick answer might be yes. But then, it gets complicated. And yet, how can something as elemental as love ever be complicated? Actually, it can’t. Read on.
Have you ever had the feeling that someone loves you too much? Think about it. You get a rush of enthusiastic, passionate affection hoisted upon you and it turns you off. What is that? How can love repel us when love is the ultimate elixir? And yet, when it comes at you fast and furious, on occasion, the guard goes up. You think, “If only they would chill.”
And then there’s the other side of it. Think back to a time when you dared to pour your heart out or bent over backwards to please someone, only to be rebuffed? Ouch. When your generosity of heart is not received well, much less reciprocated, it can sting. In fact, for someone looking for external measures of worth, it can be down right devastating. And yet, one must be applauded for the vulnerability it takes to risk love, regardless of how it lands. There is no need to hold back when it comes to love. But in order to love painlessly, the love must be pure.
What turns us off is not too much love. It is neediness. There is an underlying implication that when someone comes at you with all they’ve got, they expect something big in return. That’s it! The cloud of neediness shrouding love was pointed out to me by my sage spiritual guide, Wendy. She gave the apt analogy that if you are offered a million dollars, your unflitered response might be “Whoa!” as you cautiously back away. What must be expected of you in return, you wonder? When it comes to generosity of great magnitude, whether emotional or material, we instinctively pause to look for strings attached.
Wise Wendy went on to point out that in movies and pop culture, a lot of what is depicted as epic romance is not about love at all. It’s about neediness. “Complete me! Save me! Be my everything. Give me something to live for!” From a psychological perspective, in fact, these flicks do not depict healthy relationships. That would be far too boring. The flavor favored in drama looks more like codependence. (I can’t live without you, you can’t live without me. Let’s futilely try to fix each other and forget about working on ourselves). Bingo. Another match made in hell.
This revelation that neediness is the real cause of confusion prompted some self-reflection. Have I pushed someone away because they gave me too much? Yes. But why? There is a subtle pressure, perhaps, to live up to someone’s idealization. Each new gift or gracious act is both appreciated and resisted. Please, not again. How do I repay this? I do not want to! If feels like a burden. Stop. I do not want to be worshipped and adored. It makes me uncomfortable. Because underlying the kindness, I sense unspoken demands. “If I do all these things for you, you will give me your love. Your self.” Oh my Goddess, locate my nearest Exit Door! Indeed, it is not the love itself that is repugnant. It is the implicit asking. “Love me because I do this, I say this, I love you…”
Conversely, I have been on the other side of this scenario. Giving too much, trying too hard to please. Mistakenly and unconsciously thinking that love has to be earned. I have to stop and ask, was I expecting something in return? Did I have a result in mind? Or was I just expressing what is true for me– a genuine, untainted feeling of positive regard?
Here’s a good test. Are you ready? To love someone means to allow them the freedom to have their own reaction to your overtures. In love, the giver is free to express authentically and the reciever is free to have their experience of that– whatever it is. So we can simply ask, is there any attachment to outcome? If not, it is simple. It is simply love.
It’s not really love that’s complicated. It’s the additives: Agenda. Expectations. Need. Love itself does not hurt. It does not disappoint. It does not ask for anything in return. Love is being, not doing. Love IS.
When love is expressed in its pure form from an authentic place of truth, it permeates without any effort. It seeps in and gives its gift without any ribbons on a box or strings attached.
“Immature love says “I love you because I need you.” Mature love says “I need you because I love you.” – Erich Fromm
Please share your comments. Not to sound needy.
Much love people!