What does it mean to “open to love” and how is this different from how most people live their lives?
I think it would be safe to say that most of us have felt hurt, disappointment and perhaps even betrayal around love. Our families may not have given us the love we craved. We may have experienced painful breakups. As a result, some people view love with fear and suspicion. We may go through life with our hearts carefully guarded, waiting for one person to earn our trust so we can give him the key. Although this strategy may work for some, I believe that living in this way limits the flow of love and results in isolation and unhappiness.
How would things be different if you saw love not as a feeling but as an action? As a choice? Gary Chapman in his book called “Love as a Way of Life” gives us seven qualities of loving people: forgiveness, tolerance, generosity, kindness, humility, courtesy and patience. To be able to be truly loving toward others, we must be loving toward ourselves. How do we need to forgive ourselves? How can we be more patient and tolerant toward our imperfections? When we hear the inner critic can we stop the voice and be kinder?
I invite you to take the risk of opening to love today and treating all you meet with love whether it’s a family member or a clerk in your local store – and especially yourself!
One of my favourite poems by Hafiz, a 14th Century Persian poet concerns a rose:
HOW DID THE ROSE?
did the rose
ever open its heart
and give to the world all of its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light against its being,
otherwise we all remain too
Becoming a more loving person with a open heart isn’t going to happen overnight, of course. However, every great journey starts with a single step. What step could you take today to become a more loving and open-hearted person?
* from “Love Poems from God” by Daniel Ladinsky page 161