LOVE DOESN’T HURT
(Written in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and dedicated to all the women who suffered abuse at the hands of an intimate partner.)
Forget what every love-sick R&B, blues and country music song told you. I assure you that love is NOT supposed to hurt. There are many women hanging on for dear life in emotionally and physically abusive relationships all because society has convinced them that love is wrought with pain. Not so! However, there are some hurtful experiences that sometimes occur in the name of love. Let’s take a look at them:
· Breaking up often hurts;
· Staying beyond the point of emotional wellbeing for one or both partners;
· Being betrayed, lied to and cheated on definitely hurts;
· Discovering that your mate is not the woman she presented herself to be.
These are the hurtful experiences that far too often happen as we strive to be in love. However, we must be clear that, in fact, this is not love itself. And we must extricate these occurrences from our working definition of love. So then the question really becomes, how did we learn to entangle pain with our understanding of romantic love? The answer is socialization and miseducation.
Don’t get me wrong, there can be disagreements and sadness experienced as we navigate our way through romantic relationships. This is often because we attract partners who help us heal and/or confront challenging familial patterns. To that end, when we are in the midst of this dysfunction we have divorced ourselves from the true meaning of love. In other words, we are not behaving “in love”. We are not holding on to a loving place that is shaped by compassion, understanding and kindness.
So what do we do? Well, what if we decided that things like breaking up could happen lovingly? What would it be like to fully accept that the relationship is no longer serving the highest good of each individual? Then, we could choose a way to transition our commitment from a romantic one to a place of spiritual and emotional transformation. We could accept the purpose of the connection and embrace the need to move on. Hmmm…is it possible? Of course it is possible. But it would require a complete consciousness shift. It would demand that we relinquish treating love like an acquisition. We would have to abandon the idea of possessing and owning our mates. In this shift we would embrace the depth and breadth of true love and its mutability.
I realize that what I am suggesting is a radical transformation. Truthfully, what I am suggesting is a LOVE REVOLUTION, but the need is at critical mass. You see, 1 in 3 women will experience violence in her lifetime. These acts of violence too often occur at the hands of those who once professed love, an intimate partner. I believe that this is 1 too many. It is apparent that our current culture of love is not working, and women are suffering because of it. It is time to do something different. It is time to evolve.
Violence is often perpetrated by those who feel powerless. So let’s restore ourselves to an authentic power, wherein love is more spiritual than emotional. Below is my offering of three steps to assist in broadening our love consciousness:
1. Seek, recognize and honor God in and as your partner. Look beyond her flaws of humanity to see the God in her. One of my favorite songs by Joan Osborne, One of Us, asks the question, “What if God was one of us?” What if God is manifested in your mate in order that you might grow, heal or be challenged? What if you miss that opportunity because you are unwilling to acknowledge love in all its forms? Ponder there for a moment, if you will…
2. Be willing to look at the way you are recreating familial patterns in your relationships. Are you consistently choosing the same mate with a different face (i.e. unavailable women, unfaithful women, or women who lie, etc.). The only common denominator is YOU. You may be modeling the behavior of your parents…As these are the first examples of love that we see. This should not be a source of guilt nor blame. Instead, it is an opportunity to mend your heart. Below is a link to an exercise that I developed to help my clients identify such patterns and break the cycle. I am sharing it with you, beloveds, in hopes that you might find it helpful: RELATIONSHIP EXERCISE
3. Lastly, decide that “falling” in love is a thing of the past. Instead, create love. Think about it…Falling happens when we are not paying attention. Creating, as opposed to falling, is about intention. It is a restoration of an authentic power to craft a relationship predicated on divine purpose, support and healing. It is a fluid position that requires an abundance of courage. Creating love is about believing that we are no longer possessing love. To that end, we can actually be the love we seek.
Now that you have the tips for shifting to a new love consciousness, I sincerely wish you success on this audacious journey. Remember it is a journey of progress, not perfection. I honor you for taking the steps toward this LOVE REVOLUTION…Nya Akoma!