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Give and Receive Love — But How?

June 6, 2011
Young woman standing on sand dune, arms out, eyes closed

It's one thing to meditate on something and quite another to actually accomplish it. More life lessons learned the hard way.

“I open myself fully to give and receive love.”

This has been my mantra recently. When I started on this path I didn’t think much of it because I’ve always thought of myself as a very loving person. But I’m finding it increasingly difficult to remain completely open to give and receive love at all times with all people.

Especially when I’m driving. (Why can’t people just stay out of my way?…and go the speed limit…and use their turning signals!)

“I open myself fully to GIVE and receive love.”

Anyway, the more I think about this — and the more I try to consciously and tangibly give love to people — the more I have realized that we have blocks in our society to this kind of practice. As I alluded to a while back, love is one of the best gifts that people in this culture refuse to accept.

We have so many rules and regulations on love in our society. And loving people freely and openly often frightens people and urges them to run away rather than drawing them in to offer them more love. It’s seems so counter-intuitive.

Think about it. If you really did something openly loving (and I mean beyond simple niceties like good manners) for everyone you encounter people would be afraid of you. Suspicious. Nervous. Confused. Afraid.

“I open myself fully to give and RECEIVE love.”

I would think that putting love out there would attract people who want to love me in return. I find that it often attracts VERY needy people who want tons of attention and have nothing to give in return. That makes me afraid. I don’t need a succubus any more than the next person.

woman happy and dancing with arms out. Open

It does feel good when you can actually get somewhere in life with a mantra.

“I OPEN myself fully to give and receive love.”

Well, despite these issues I’m still trying. When I am totally staying in this place of wanting to give and receive love to and from everyone I encounter I can see how I might seem odd. I start wanting to hug everyone and I stop my friends mid-sentence and tell them I love them. I can be seen skipping across the street when I move my car. I’m overwhelmed by emotion and I burst into tears over the slightest things.

I like it, but these things what happen when I’m fully open are so uncomfortable for people. I get lots of sideways glances and facial expressions that feel like the person is wondering what is wrong with me. And it concerns me that perhaps I am unwittingly pushing people away with this practice. And of course, the purpose is for the opposite to happen!

“I open myself FULLY to give and receive love.”

I talked to my counselor about this. She suggested I try to be fully open to give and receive love with out being demonstrative about it. Well that’s really difficult for me. Because when I’m practicing this that’s all I want to do! I want to give presents to people. I want to high-five strangers. I want to pick up little kids I run into on the street and twirl them around.

Don’t worry I haven’t been picking up random kids. I just want to. And it’s hard to resist. So I’m in a quandary. I’m trying to open myself up, but I find myself needing to deny the impulses that come with it, which winds up closing me off again. Interesting cycle.

Maybe I just need more people in my life who are okay with me being demonstrative about my love. But honestly, among all of my friends and family they aren’t all too comfortable accepting love either. Maybe that’s part of why I have been hoping for and looking for new friends.

I need more ways to love others.

“I open MYSELF fully to give and receive love.”

But it isn’t easy finding people to love. And even if you are just looking for friends it’s kind of like dating because I’m basically asking people to come into my life so that I can love them. I’m not giving up this. Because the effort, even though it is regularly thwarted, to give and receive love in all situations with all people — Fully — has changed me in great ways.

I’m happier, sadder, deeper…and I have more to give. Should someone choose to receive it.

Happy woman with arms outstretched

Time for the dare. What would happen if you opened yourself fully to give and receive love? What would that look like? What if we all (or even just most of us) opened up in this way. What would it look like?

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristin Brænne permalink
    June 6, 2011 11:09 am

    Stay excellent! ★

  2. Michael permalink
    June 6, 2011 2:23 pm

    Too many people confuse love with sex, too many people want just sex, today’s competitive men and woman are introverted.

    Too many people are afraid of being hurt.

    Community has gone.

    • June 6, 2011 2:48 pm

      Almost all the women I know are extroverted. But maybe that’s a mid-western America thing.

      • Michael permalink
        June 6, 2011 3:59 pm

        With apologies, but im talking about the British

        Americans in general are extrovert, ostentatious, and loud.

        And in still waiting for a web cam connection with you.

        • June 6, 2011 4:07 pm

          No apology needed.

          I must say, I don’t have my brain completely wrapped around a web cam convo. A.) I’ve never had one before. B.) It seems like a bold step to be taken AFTER a few other steps. C.) I currently have two jobs and I’m in a VERY distant time zone. I can’t imagine what time of day it would it even be possible.

          That’s not a, “No, never.” I guess I’m just not totally comfortable with the idea right now.

          • Michael permalink
            June 6, 2011 4:51 pm

            It’s okay, if and when you are, we will.

  3. June 6, 2011 3:13 pm

    I guess I look at love the same way I look at compliments:

    I don’t dole out many compliments, but when I do, people know that I truly mean it, and I find it holds more weight.

    Now, I’m not saying that what you’re doing is bad. I think you should be commended for being such a warm person, actually. I just find that that doesn’t work for me.

    • June 6, 2011 4:19 pm

      Okay, I understand where you are coming from, but I have a challenge for your statement. I would suggest that love is not a commodity that is more valuable when there is less of it (like gold) and that that scarcity — poverty — mentality is part of what keeps so many of us unhappy.

      The idea that there is only so much love in the world and perhaps only so much love that we each individually possess (so we have to conserve it and dole it out slowly and carefully) is something that I would suggest is a big fat lie from…well, where could it be from? Our culture? Our egos? Our souls?

      Giving it out makes it grow. And if you are giving it out responsibly it seems that it never becomes like wallpaper to the people involved. Am I wrong? Should I start saving up my love for a rainy day along with the money in my retirement fund?

      • June 7, 2011 12:39 am

        It’s not that love is a commodity, or that it’s limited in quantity. To me, it’s more that if you say it too much, it loses its meaning, because you desensitize yourself and others to it.

        If you say “I love you” to absolutely everyone you meet, do you think your significant other is going to feel all that special when you finally say it to him?

        To use perhaps an inappropriate analogy… I love sex. And I love having sex. In fact, every time I have sex, I absolutely love it and appreciate it and mean it from the bottom of my… er, loins. And it certainly doesn’t get more valuable if I have less of it.

        But, if I go around having sex with absolutely everyone I can, is it going to mean much when I finally have sex with my girlfriend?

        I say no.

        See? That’s where I’m coming from. ;-)

        • June 7, 2011 9:18 am

          I get your point about saying you love something. Like saying, “I love Cheetos,” devalues the word love. However, saying you love a person (or idem) and truly demonstrating love (with something as little as a smile) or purposely choosing to love a person are very different things.

          And I get your sex analogy but honestly I don’t think it applies. Maybe if you were talking simply about all affection in general. But even if you openly love everyone you encounter the people you spend the most time with will still get the most love from you. And the ways you choose to demonstrate your love can have different levels of intimacy, meaning and intensity can have varying levels. For example, in one moment I may demonstrate love to a stranger by touching his shoulder when I learn he is distressed because he has learned that his father died. But I might hold my lover as he cries when he learns that his father died.

          It’s still love.

          Also, I wanted you to know that I was just trying to get you to think harder about it — I didn’t want to suggest for a moment that you were wrong. I love the way you think, so I just wanted to get you thinking more.

          And yes, I do see where you’re coming from. ;)

    • Michael permalink
      June 6, 2011 4:54 pm

      Dennis Hong, This is just it, we should never keep wanting a return, we should do and say nice things because we want to, and not because we want a return.

      If we are looking for a return, then we arent genuine. It’s that simple.

      • June 7, 2011 12:35 am

        Shoulda woulda coulda. Your idealism makes me want to puke just a little in my mouth, Michael. ;-)

        • Michael permalink
          June 7, 2011 9:22 am

          It’s not idealism Dennis, it’s the way life works.

          If you are wanting a quick return on your good nature when it suits you, you had better marry a fruit machine.

          At least you can puke into that, without a comeback.

          • June 7, 2011 9:24 am

            Okay fellas…I’m all for hearty discussion. But let’s play nice. And you are both welcome to puke in your mouth a little about the other person.

            • June 7, 2011 9:40 am

              Aw, well, where’s the fun in that?!? ;-p

            • Michael permalink
              June 7, 2011 9:43 am

              I dont puke, I simply state how life works.

              We have to be ourselves and take what comes, we cannot and must not act a part, if we do, what comes back wont be what we expect.

          • June 7, 2011 9:39 am

            The fact that you even think that that’s how life works shows how little you actually know about real life.

            You can live in your puke-free fantasy world all you want. I prefer to ground myself in reality and accept people for what they really are and how they really behave.

            Of course, you know I expect something in return for everything I do, so I eagerly await your response….

            • Michael permalink
              June 7, 2011 11:02 am

              Dennis, I suspect Ive been on this earth longer that you, discontent is in the souls of those who want life to run to their pattern.

  4. June 7, 2011 11:42 am

    Michael, just because you’re older doesn’t make you wiser.

    Instead of spewing cliches that have no application to the discussion at hand, let alone real life, what don’t you try saying something that actually makes sense?

    As I said, I accept people for who they really are: self-serving. There’s no discontent there. You, on the hand, are the one spewing idealism and going on and on about how people should behave and what real life should be like.

    Who sounds like the discontented one now?

    I accept your self-deceiving idealism. Now why can’t you accept my cynicism? Or does that run contrary to the pattern you want life to run?

    • Michael permalink
      June 7, 2011 2:08 pm

      Dennis, yours is typical retorich from the young who know nothing. Again with age comes experience, and wisdom.

      Life does not always do whast we want it to do.

      So if I were you, I would stop being pretentious and picking and choosing who you are nice to, and just be nice.

      This way you will at least come across as genuine, and then you never know where the chips might fall.

    • June 7, 2011 3:27 pm

      Too bad you’re not me then, because I’m perfectly happy being pretentious and choosing whom I’m nice to.

      Incidentally, I don’t usually resort to grammar and spelling arguments, but the irony needs to be pointed out that you lecture me on knowledge, and yet, you don’t even know how to spell “rhetoric.”

      Way to go there, big guy.

  5. June 7, 2011 11:47 am

    Look at it this way:

    What exactly are you hoping to accomplish by engaging with me? Are you really trying to help me better myself, out of pure goodness from your heart? Or are you just trying to make yourself look good with your arcane wisdom and impress Crystal?

    At least I can admit that I’m doing this because I get a kick out of online pissing contests. And because I like showing off in front of Crystal, even when I know she doesn’t agree with me.

    The more you respond to correct my supposedly wrong ways, the more you prove my point that people are, indeed, self-serving.

    • Michael permalink
      June 7, 2011 2:10 pm

      There you have provied my point.

    • June 7, 2011 3:29 pm

      Okay, and now I think you’re just trolling me. But, just in case you really are that dense….

      At which point have I or you actually said anything that verifies any of your assortment of garbled points?

  6. June 7, 2011 11:51 am

    Crystal, I don’t like your moderation policy. It makes online pissing contests difficult.

    It’s like I’m constantly having to pinch off in mid-stream. ;-)

    • June 7, 2011 12:17 pm

      Sorry…I get a lot of messages I can’t approve when my posts are about sex or religion.

      Enjoy the rest of your pissing contest!

  7. June 8, 2011 10:47 am

    You know there’s this thing “filter paper”, it lets water flow through and stops coffee from falling into the mug. Staying open for giving/receiving love is all right, but you need to use some sort of “filter paper”. Keep picking up random kids and twirling them around, it won’t hurt :)

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