How do you love and be loved without getting hurt? The truth is if we are truly going to love and be loved, pain will be a part of our experience.
Let me start by saying that it’s my opinion that love is the greatest need that we have as human being have along with food and water. Jim Al-Khalili a physicist says, “love is a powerful neurological condition like hunger or thirst, only more permanent”. Philippa Perry a philosopher says, “Love is above all”. Catherine Whybourne a Benedictine nun says, “Love is more easily experienced than defined…The paradox of love is that it is supremely free yet attaches us with bonds stronger than death. It cannot be bought or sold; there is nothing it cannot face; love is life’s greatest blessing.” In researching perspectives of love I found an article that says, “Deprivation comes in many shapes and forms: lack of food, diseases, maltreatment, and child abuse are some of the harms that come to mind. However, I would argue that deprivation of love can be just as deadly”
There are so many definitions of love out there but here are a few:
– “An affection of the mind excited by beauty and worth of any kind… Love between opposites sexes, is a compound affection, consisting of esteem, benevolence, and animal desire” American Dictionary of The English Language 1828
– “This love is unconditional affection with no limits or conditions: completely loving someone. It’s when you trust the other with your life and when you would do anything for each other. When you love someone you want nothing more than for them to be truly happy no matter what it takes because that’s how much you care about them and because their needs come before your own. You hide nothing of yourself and can tell the other anything because you know they accept you just the way you are and vice versa.” Urban Dictionary
– Love = Warmth, Nourishment and Protection
– “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” 1Cor 13:4-8
Why do we need to experience pain if we are truly going to love and be loved?
Trust is that love and pain are born in the same place. Love is birthed in a “womb” and this womb is a place of vulnerability and intimacy. Vulnerability causes us to be susceptible to different levels of pain. This is why one must come to a personal conclusion if love is worth the risk. There is a, “counting the cost” involved in love but this counting the cost is in the very nature of love itself.
When you are willing to make yourself vulnerable to someone you are essentially communicating to him or her that you are willing to give them your heart. Your heart is valuable to you therefore this shows your value for them. It shows that you trust and value them enough to have a level of intimacy or in-to-me-u-see. This in turn causes them to feel valued, trusted, respected, heard, understood or in one word, Loved.
Understand this, love is as food and water, without it we die (internally). I encourage you to “count the cost”, to love and to become easy to be loved. Let people in. In-to-me-u-see. This is where the love is born.
The Pain of Love
Than comes the issue of getting hurt. Since our hearts is valuable shouldn’t we guard them? It’s out of your heart that springs forth the issues of life therefore yes you must learn to guard your heart. What does it look like to guard your heart in a healthy way? I say, “healthy way” because many guard their hearts with defense mechanisms such as, anger. Anger says, “I’ll hurt you before you hurt me”. It’s a defense mechanism. Defense mechanisms hinder love and truth from entering into our hearts (Closing up & avoiding things can be another defense mechanism that’s robs us from truth and love).
So what does the “healthy” way look like? It looks like you being clear on who you are & who you are not (true humility). It is you knowing your identity and your value. Only than can you be confident about letting people into your heart space. Why? First, because you know who you are therefore can affectively give yourself to another and be able to receive the love in return. And secondly, because you value yourself therefore would not allow someone to abuse you in any way.
Therefore the, “healthy way” has nothing to do with what people are doing or not doing. It has to do with your own personal internal reality. When you have a peace and confidence within it will manifest itself outwardly too. We guard our hearts not through defense mechanisms but rather through the confidence and freedom we have within through knowing our true identity and value. With it comes to relationships we must be bold as a lion & yet gentle as a dove. Be bold because of the risk of getting hurt & gently because the opportunity to love and be loved.
There is a risk but love is worth it. Go and love and be loved!