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Isn't it pretty?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Thoughts on Love

Love is an elusive thing. Many people speak of it and write about it. There is romantic love between two people, there is a parent/child love, and there is love between friends. I read many books in which love is the theme underlying the story, movies are often wound around love, even TV shows like "Desparate Housewives" use love as the thread that intertwines all of the characters. Despite all the talk about love, I think it is hard to really define. I think it is different to different people. To some it is an act, to others it is a feeling. It can involve many people, or it can involve only one - yourself. When I was 15 years old I attended a camp called Anytown Alabama. The camp was geared towards diversity awareness - the campers were a group of teenagers from all different races and religions. We were brought together to show the similarities between different people, to show that we CAN all get along. The days were centered around open dialogue and building trust between people. At one point during the week I made a comment about the fact that it is difficult to love anyone else if you don't love yourself first. One of the other group members told me later that what I said really made an impact on him, and he was going to work on loving himself in order that he could love others. Twelve years later, I realize that loving yourself is much easier said than done, at least for me. Which in turn, makes it harder to love others. There was a time when I wasn't sure that I could love another person. I cared about my friends, and family, but I really wasn't sure that I even knew or was capable of true loving. Because true loving requires opening yourself up, and depending on others. And I wasn't sure that I could do that; I was too scared of being hurt. The thing is, it CAN really hurt. Because nothing is guaranteed to be forever. But the thing is, once you learn to love yourself, and then let that spread to a love for others, loving gets easier, even if it sometimes hurts. And the hurt doesn't hurt as much, because you love yourself. Once you realize that you can love one person, you often find yourself loving more people. And because that ability to love and let others into your life feels so good, you give more and more. And you love yourself more and more. So the love spreads, and touches more and more people.

It is not always easy to let people into your life, and give them your love, especially if that opening up has led to pain in the past. But the truth is, as hard as it is, it is worth it.

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