When defining and speaking about the concept of love, I find it very helpful to have as wide of a lens as possible. All people everywhere regardless of moral, race, religion, or location, deserve love. We can agree on that. Love is a feeling and a set of consistent actions, I believe we can agree on that also. We need to feel the feeling and to see the actions consistently to consider it love. So, what makes up this broad concept of love that everyone can get behind? I have broken it down into three categories: a state of being, a mindset, and an expression. Let’s explore these three concepts of love from most accessed to least accessed.
When you read expression, think communication. When we express, we communicate how we feel, either in words or actions. This is the most common kind of love. I am expressing a feeling of love to you and I am hoping that you will express a feeing of love to me in equal measure. It is an attempt at reciprocal compassion, kindness, and empathy with expectation of it being returned. This is where the actions of love exist, but also where the expectations exist, making it the most vulnerable and risky kind of love (holding an expectation is always a risk).
Love as an expression leads to momentary happiness, validation, and connection. These are great experiences, and when strung together consistently, this works out long term. However, without consistent equal reciprocal expression, love as an expression leads to bitterness and suffering from unmet expectations. This is the most common type of love a person with codependent behaviors engages in, often trading actions of love for the felt sense of love from another person. Find out how to communicate the need for expressions of love in the related blog "Is Love Truly Enough?'
Love as a mindset is an evolution of love as an expression. Love as a mindset is a choice towards compassion, empathy, and kindness even when it’s difficult; even when it is not reciprocated. It takes work and discipline. There are the same kinds of feelings as expression love, but instead of needing them to be reciprocal, you are choosing to create these feelings on your own with discipline regardless of weather a partner reciprocates. It feels like work and dicipline. The mindset of love leads to an experience of righteousness and altruistic goodness since you are creating this and feeling really powerful in your experience of it. This can be a good thing and is a really great thing for people with codependent behaviors to practice doing. It can also be a heavy experience with an underlying bitterness if you don’t occasionally get that reciprocal expressive love from another person.
Love as a state of being is the ultimate evolution of love as a mindset. This is the broadest and least accessed kind of love, but with the least amount of risk involved. Love as a state of being is the idea that love is an energy or a frequency. It is a state of being like rest is a state of being. Choosing to be in love is like choosing to be in rest; you must sink into the current of it like we sink into a bath. Love then becomes an infinite source that exists outside of any one person, and available to and through all people. This kind of love includes compassion, empathy and kindness in all experiences; first for yourself and then for others in equal measure. It leads to an experience of joy and freedom. Unlike expression love, it is not confined to reciprocal actions. Unlike mindset of love, it is not something we have to create and choose from inside of ourselves.
The difficulty with this kind of love is that we cannot cultivate it, own it, or give it. We can only choose to experience it. We can experience it together, with someone else who is also choosing to experience it. There is so much freedom in this kind of love when we recognize that the love we feel to, and through, any one person is a reflection of the ultimate goodness in the world and cannot be lost if that person exits our life. This is the goal for people with codependent behaviors; to be able to recognize that love is abundantly available to us without needing to create it in ourselves or find it in a perfect partner. All that is needed is to be open to it and to allow ourselves to experience it.
All types of love are necessary for a full human experience, but so often we get stuck in trying to express love and forget that we ARE love in that state of being, and have abundant love available to us. Love is the fabric of the universe. All the love you need is, first and foremost, is available to you at any moment regardless of the circumstances.
Practicing the art of accessing love as a state of being will only help you cultivate a more secure love mindset and express love from a more authentic place of connection. Only accessing love as a state of being as an individual is great, but love is also meant to overflow from there into mindset and expression.
Let’s focus on the idea of love as a state of being for a moment. This is the most challenging kind of love for codependents to get on board with because for the most part, we only allow ourselves to connect to the feeling of love when we have the permission of somebody else; We only feel love when someone else expresses love to us. Connecting to love on our own activates our core wounds (abandonment, worthlessness) and can feel unfair, lonely, or otherwise difficult. We want people to love us. We want to be the recipient of love as a way to heal our feeling of not being enough.
Those are all real and valid feelings, but recognize that the desire to be loved comes from our trauma, not from our truth. What I mean by that is desire for love is satisfied when we remember that we are love and have access to love within us at any moment. Desire for love from another person has less to do with being loved and more to do with managing anxiety around being abandoned. When you recognize that you are loved and that no one can validate that or take it away, your relationship with love will change.
Repairing on limiting beliefs about love and worthiness of love means 1. Fully subscribing to the idea that love is a state of being and 2. Committing to the practice of accessing love energy for yourself as a solo practice. Look for ways that you are loved in the every day ordinary things. Become aware of the times that people love you in their own ways. Practice gratitude for the love you feel when you do access it.
A guided practice on feeling into love as a state of being is included in the Becoming Me Again eCourse. If. you are interested in learning more about yourself and how to practice this kind of transformative love, consider taking the course for yourself.