Not in the rom-com kinda way. But the stuff that connects us all. I think love is so powerful. Love makes us all vulnerable, and being open to that kind of vulnerability shows so much strength. But I don’t think you have to be in a relationship to reap the benefits of love.
Recently I had this experience while meditating where I felt flooded with light and suddenly connected to the world around me. Almost as if I could literally feel what those around me were feeling. It felt so good, so joyous, so meaningful… almost as if I had “discovered the meaning of life”. And in that moment, I knew what I was feeling was overwhelming unconditional love. Not for one thing or one person, but just an outward expression and pouring of this emotion. It was honestly one of the most beautiful experiences if not the most beautiful experience in my entire life. I know this all might sound super crazy and a bit out-there, and maybe it is, but this experience profoundly changed my perspective on and relationship to love.
For the first time in my whole life, I felt like love wasn’t something that needed to be reciprocated between two people. Nor did I want to just receive the positive benefits and support associated with feeling loved. Instead, I felt like I had an endless supply of love and all I wanted to do was give it out as abundantly as possible. It was like giving unconditional love was suddenly the most fulfilling thing I could possibly do. And honestly, I had no idea what to do with myself.
Saying you love someone is meaningful. But what does it really mean to “love” someone? I think the first time I encountered this word with a significant other, I was just confused. I didn’t know how to interpret or understand the implications. Did this just represent the next level of commitment or was it something bigger? I’ve always said that I love my friends. I say I love you to pretty much all of my friends.
Only recently did I start questioning whether or not this might be weird and abnormal. Regardless, I’m not going to stop saying it, but it was interesting to me that other people might think it’s strange to love a friend.
For me, it’s not weird at all. I’m not the type of person to have a ton of friends, but the ones I do have are rock solid. My ride-or-dies. My people. I’ve never really gotten into arguments with any of my friends, at most I’ll get annoyed and need some space. From day 1, my friendships have been grounding. I’ve always known that my friends accept me and are there for me no matter what. And so, I guess to me, those two things comprise unconditional love. It’s not about what they do for me, or even how recently we’ve talked. It’s just knowing that no matter what, we’ve got each other’s backs. I think this might not be the case for everyone, but there were definitely some things in my childhood that drove me to seek such stable, consistent friendships. And I couldn’t be happier that I’ve developed this pattern. I love my friends so much. And I want to be there for them, anytime they need me.
I think a turning point for me and this momentous experience may be somewhat related to some internal work I had been doing at the time. I had been doing a lot of inner child healing. For the first time in my life, I could confidently say that I loved myself, unconditionally. I didn’t have to be successful or “good” or anything. I loved myself just for being me and that will never change. But this pervasive self-love, unlocked a whole new world for me.
It’s kind of like the idea they explain on airplanes of putting on your mask first before you try to help anyone else. I think before when I loved, it wasn’t any less real, but it didn’t have as much energy and abundance behind it. I wasn’t really supporting myself and so any attempt to support other people was coming from a weaker foundation. Sometimes I feel a little bit of guilt creeping in about times where I could have been more supportive of my friends, but since I really do believe that everything happens for a reason, I push away any feelings of regret. Instead, I focus my attention on what I can do now. I know that going forward I will have so much more energy to be supportive to the people I really care about. And that I really like doing it. Before, sometimes it would be taxing and feel like a burden, but now I have so much more energy and understand that taking care of myself first isn’t selfish. Helping myself, loving myself, is the best way for me to love other people. If only I had learned this a little sooner.
I loved people before without loving myself. This meant that I sometimes put the needs of others before my own needs, which is not only harmful to me, but also is detrimental to the relationship as a whole. I now see that love from a place of love is just so. much. more. powerful. I’m excited to see what I can do with this in the future.
On that note, I’ve been experimenting a lot with meditations where I send all of the loving energy I feel out in the world. Sometimes I direct it to specific people, but sometimes I just want to send it out randomly. I really have started believing that everything is connected and so why not send a little extra love into everything. I also find that I really like how I feel when I’m full of love. Feeling hatred and negativity is not only taxing, but it also affects how you act and how you see yourself.
It’s not always easy, but I’ve been practicing by trying to feel genuine happiness when other people get excited. It’s especially challenging if whatever is bringing this person happiness is not necessarily what I myself want or is the opposite of what I want. Another tricky one is sending love to people who might not feel like sending it back to me. But the way I see it, the more challenging a challenge, the more room there is to grow.
Plus, I have more love than I know what to do with anyways.