Learning to Love

The psychology of the heart is pretty easy explain. As children we live with an open heart to our families, friends and the world. And, then something hurts. If the pain is very minute, we are hesitant until trust is there again. If the pain is severe, we shut down, we close off our heart, so that no one can hurt us again. But, if we live with a closed heart we can no longer give or receive love. And, because our hearts are empty, we live in a chronic state of receive, receive, receive.

Gary Chapman wrote a  book called Love Languages, in which he discusses how Love is expressed and received. The book is great, because it helps us understand how we naturally give and receiver love. But, it seems rather blind and primitive to me. Because, if that were true, I would surround myself with people who would watch movies with me, laugh, cry, but, not talk very much. They’d want to talk about music, art, movies (afterward), do occasional new things, take walks and try news bars and restaurants. But, I’m not a very materialistic person, so what if someone buys me gifts, is that not love? Should, I close my heart off to that? Some of my best relationships (both friendships & dating), haven’t loved  the same way I’ve loved. This is no reason to end things between people, rather, it is an entry point to conversation, and, a way for our hearts to open our hearts to each other even greater. Because, a lot of what we receiver often has meanings behind it that makes us blind to the gift.

Our pasts determine our present reality. An unreconciled past will often hold meanings behind the gifts. A person who had been abused (physically or sexually), will not be able to properly appreciate an offering of physical affection. A hug, a kiss, sensuality or sexuality, will cause distress for that person, and, they close off their hearts to the offering of the other persons genuine giving of themselves. A person who grew up in a consumption based home, where, love was proved through physical and tangible offerings, may not be able to receive the loving gesture of a warm encouraging gesture. Our personalities and experiences determine our love languages but shame determines the condition of our hearts.

Shame is something every human being struggles with. It’s those feelings of personal inadequacy, it’s the messages sent through the events of our lives that indicated to us that we were not enough. Shame, closes our hearts off. It makes us feel like we are not worth enough for something or someone. Shame is brought in through our homes, our churches, our advertising, our friends, our schools and many more places. But, we are reminded daily that we are not enough, whether we know it or not. A person who lives in shame, cannot properly receive anything, because, they don’t feel like they are worth the gift. Most, people don’t see the gift, and, what love truly is.

Love can be anything, but, attached to love will always be self-sacrifice. A person who loves you will offer you something that allows you to not only experience them, but, also yourself and God on a profound more level. Something of them, is emptied out for you. That person gives something inside of themselves, that they did not have to, so that you may enter a place of wellness, a greater place of peace. They are inviting you into the mystery of who they are.

Life requires us to a greater place of mystery. Mystery, is the highest form of experience. I can look at a person, and tell you about them. I see they’re Caucasian, they smell like Axe body spray, etc. A person could move a step deeper, and tell me where they work, their hobbies, even intimate stage two people can tell me their pet peeves (for me, its bad driving and slang). But, if you want to enter into mystery, you allow yourselves into the immersion of them. You experience their love, however it appears. You experience their goodness, however it appears. Stage three allows you to experience the first two stages, but, move beyond it to a transcendent opportunity. Love does not exist on a magic 8 ball. Love does not hold expectations because if it did, we could never receive it. It’s a choice, it’s an experience, it’s an opening of ourselves, it’s an awakening to the world around us.

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