Sh*t To Help You Show Up February 11, 2022
Love post #1: Does unconditional love exist?
Monday is Valentine’s Day and the explosion of media around the holiday has me thinking about love. I’m going to write specifically about romantic love for Monday’s newsletter that will go out to everyone, but today I thought I’d write about love in a wider sense. As in, the love that carries across friendships, families, partnerships, and communities.
English is the least useful language for a nuanced discussion of love since we really only have a single word, which we sub in for all types of emotional connections and intimacies. Sanskrit, in contrast, has 96 words for love. 96! Sadly, I don’t write or speak Sanskrit, nor do you probably, so we’re just stuck with this one word-bucket for all the complicated things.
All the complicated things that get tossed into the love word-bucket share one essential aspect– a deep yearning to witness the most ideal parts of someone and elevate them, and to have our most ideal selves witnessed and elevated in turn. We want to connect our Light to another person’s Light, helping them both to grow.
What a gorgeous intention, which underlies all the many mundane ways in which we show up daily for the people we love. And when our intention and experience line up, what an incredible experience it is! I’m lucky to have a handful of these deep, lasting loves in my life. They have been a safe harbor and an endless source of delight since my early teens. I would not be the person I am without them.
Not all loves are so sustainable, however, and here are the main reasons why: we overemphasize people’s Light in our estimation of them, ignoring all the other very real parts of who they are and ways in which they move through the world. Or, coming from the other direction, we work to convince those we love to overlook our destructive tendencies as proof of their love for us.
Why we do this is due in large part to how we conceive of love. That conception is conveyed through how we language, or qualify, the quality of “real” love.