What is love? And what has been my definition and understanding of love and how has that hindered my journey to find, create, and exude kindness?
I used to think love meant sacrificing myself for the other person. I thought it meant that I needed to care for the other person first before I cared for myself. That I needed be selfless and do what others needed, and if I did what others needed, then they would see how great I was and love me. Sounds a little crazy, if you ask me. Where did I get this twisted definition and understanding of love? I could blame it on my parents, society or my Catholic upbringing, but I do not want to blame anymore, because I’m guessing that love and kindness do not blame. However, I do think Walt Disney should take some responsibility for making and marketing those damn princess movies! Really, I’m serious about those movies, I don’t know about you, but the underlying message to me as a little girl, was that if I was the nicest, sweetest, most selfless and fairest young girl, a prince would come and rescue me. I shudder to think of how many girls interpreted the movies the same way.
What can a girl do, if this is her belief and understanding of love? First, I asked myself several questions and then I searched the dictionary for the definition of love, and finally I rewrote my definition of love so that I could see the words and hopefully create a new understanding and pattern of love and turn that love into living kindness. Here we go:
Can a person be kind without really knowing and understanding love? What is Love anyway? Am I a person who says “I love you” easily and often or do I only say it when I mean it? Am I a person who loves freely and openly or am I more guarded? Is there a right way to love and wrong way to love? How have I been shown love and how have I received love in my life? Do I teach people to love me the way I want to be loved or do I take whatever love is offered? Can I change my understanding of love so that I may create a new way to experience, create, and show love today? Can I create the type of love that I want to receive and if I do, will kindness come more naturally to me? Will the kindness I’m seeking pour from me? I sure hope so!
Love, according to Dictionary.com:
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. used in direct address as a term of endearment or affection
6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
7. sexual intercourse; copulation.
No where in the definition, does it say love is selfless or powerless. Nor does it say that love is a sacrifice to be made in order to receive it. No wonder “love” has felt painful, guilty, needy, demanding and resentful. Thinking and reflecting on the questions I had about love and the definition of love, I’ve come to realize that without a proper understanding of what love is, I could never truly create kindness in my life. Especially if I was operating from a place of selflessness that ultimately created resentment, not love and certainly not kindness. Where does that leave me? It leaves me with the opportunity to redefine my understanding of love and from there, I know I can create, embody and exude love and kindness.
My new definition of love is to embody and exude kindness, tenderness, respect, truthfulness, understanding, creativity, curiosity, passion, and intelligence in all of my interactions with myself and then with others. And to believe in and own my truth as well as my inner and outer beauty and to always compliment myself and from there believe and create anything I choose.
Try examining what your understanding of love has been and see if it matches with what you would like to create and experience in your life. Thank you for sharing in my journey to find kindness! Please share your definition of love and perhaps we can all create a personal definition of love and kindness.
With loving kindness,
Author: Jennifer Palazzo
I am a writer, digital marketer, yoga instructor, mom, and pursuer of truth, kindness, delicious & healthy foods, natural alternatives to mainstream products and the best gluten free foods available. Follow me as I explore the wonders of living a kind, vibrant and healthy life.
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