Love is a funny thing. We all believe we have the capacity to love, and indeed we do, but do we really know HOW to love.
I was listening to a new song by Little Wayne “How to Love” and started paying attention to the lyrics, and was taken aback by the concept that for many, probably the majority of human beings really don’t know how to love. Maybe they have never been unconditionally loved, by their parents, family, pets or anyone else for that matter.
If you’ve never had unconditional love do you know how to give it?
It’s taken for granted in our culture that children unconditionally love their parents and that of course parents unconditionally love their children. But if that wasn’t your childhood reality how deeply does that affect your adult/parenting reality?
Luckily love like anything else on the planet, can be taught, learned and practiced. You can actually LEARN how to love something or someone. That’s pretty powerful.
I was not raised by an over nurturing/cuddling/loving mother. She was very direct and to the point. Often more consumed with the things swirling around in her brain, then nurturing or loving us children. Therefor when I became a parent I had to consciously make choices that made me a cuddly, doting loving mother, because that was not behavior I’d ever witnessed or experienced firsthand.
One of my daughters is very independent. She has been from birth. She never particularly wanted or needed to be cuddled she would rather be off doing something more exciting. As a baby she’d rather jump in her bouncy than be rocked. I never really thought much of it; I just felt that it was her personality. But by about 3 I realized she really didn’t like to be cuddled or “loved”, she’d give a hug and a kiss and be off, that was enough for her.
So I tried a little experiment.
I applied the law of attraction.
I decided to smother her in loves and kisses, and play time and cuddling. At first she hated it! She fought it; she just really seemed like the personality type that doesn’t need it. But I kept it up. I overwhelmed her with lots of gushy love. By the start of the second week she began to cave. And by the end of that week she was my little cuddle bug, and has been ever since.
I taught her how to love. That it was ok. And in the process I taught myself too. Because I didn’t have that as a child it’s one of those things I had to “fake it until you make it”. I forced something that didn’t seem natural in our relationship, until it did.
This is not to say that we didn’t have a loving relationship full of hugs and kisses before, we definitely did. I have always as a parent been that way with my kids, but this was a deeper level. This was pushing the envelope for both of us, something I wasn’t honestly sure would work for her or me. It was a level of closeness we just hadn’t had before. All of my children are naturally independent, happy and loving. But they were never the type to need to be held all day, which as a single mom of 3 I considered a blessing, from a sheer ability standpoint. I have always been proud of their confidence and independent take charge nature, but I wanted to see if I could create that softness too. And I did.
The beauty of it for me is that all of us no matter our age or what we have been through in life, we can be taught how to love. We can slowly allow someone to love us, smoosh us with their love to soften that independent nature, its ok to need someone. It’s ok to give up some of that independence. It’s ok to really love and be loved.
The best way to receive love is to give it away.
So if you don’t have anyone in your life giving you that kind of deep, unconditional love, find someone to give yours too. When you do you will realize that it melts the walls in your heart and love will come back to you 100x’s over.
Just give it away.
To your friends, to your children, your spouse, your pets, even strangers through kindness…give love away. It will teach you how to love, and it will boomerang.