Who do you love?  It seems a pretty straight forward question, right?  Perhaps you responded with the name of an individual, or those of your children, or a pet?  Did anyone respond, “Me!”?  Because here’s what I’ve been noticing lately about my love life… I do seem to love ‘me’ a lot.  In fact, I love ‘me’ so much that I don’t always catch myself in moments where I need to be more loving to others.  I am proving my loyalty to my programmed self rather than to those whom I hold genuine love… in other words, loving ‘me,’ but not the ‘me’ I want to be.  

So, perhaps if I was yelling out, “Me!” and it was coming from a genuine place of healing within, then the love I’d be emanating out truly would be more fully aligned to the profound love I feel inside for others.  If you regularly read this column, let’s face it, you’re either my parents, or you are someone who is on a spiritual journey to grow and heal themselves.  And, I’m confident that all of you on that journey know that the only real fuel to that fire is being completely honest with yourself about who you are, at all times, even in your less fine moments.  And, dare I say, especially in those moments when you face-plant, knowing that the intentions behind your under-the-breath, rude-toned comment was not loving, even if you feverishly try to tell yourself they were, and even though you genuinely love the person that you intentionally meant to incite.  

These are tests.  Not only are they individual tests of potential awareness for ourselves, but these are also us testing those around us to confirm our emotional safety.  If we victimize ourselves with self-defeating comments, perhaps they’ll respond with an affirmation of love.  If we empower ourselves with ‘I deserve’ then maybe they will help us to believe it.  If we become enraged with ‘I don’t feel heard’, maybe they will see that we have feelings that we can’t self-soothe and they’ll hug us. When we act out toward another, it is either an act of love, or a cry for love; at least that is what I learned in my Transformational Coaching training, and what I have come to understand as truth from observing and studying human behavior.   

So, who are you as a partner, or a parent, or a friend?  Humor me- I want you to envision someone you love.  I mean, capital “L,” love.  I want you to sit for several minutes and remind yourself about why you love them.  Who they are as a person; how they engage with life; how they inspire you; the feelings they bring out of you; how they impact your life; how they accept your love; and how you’d feel if they were no longer in your life.  I gotta say, I was out in the glistening night snow with my dog, Benson, when I was overcome with an immense love for my partner, Jesse.  I could just feel this swelling inside of me of appreciation and gratitude for this amazing being whom I get to share my life with.  All I wanted to do at that moment was love him to the best of my ability… and to that elevated level that I imagine myself operating at; where the love I am able to share and express is a true representation of how I feel inside about him, and also about myself.  

Admittedly, I felt a sting as I recalled how I wasn’t at my finest a good many times throughout our relationship.  I have issues.  I’m working on them.  But how am I really working on them?  Am I really implementing a plan to better ensure my decompression in moments of heightened stress or frustration?  On the backend, do I have built into my life what I need to emotionally regulate when I feel those compulsions to test my partner with the scenarios I presented above?  How am I doing the internal work to be able to offer more acts of love than cries for love?  

So, remember who you love.  Really remember them, and let them be your inspiration to investigate your cries for love and the behaviors you default to that are more about your self-fulfillment than your relationships.  How can you begin to fill those holes within yourself that you test your partner to confirm?  How can you cultivate those healing concoctions for yourself so that your acts of love burst out of you and reveal the magnitude of love that you feel?  

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