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Is Love Enough?

Education Article:Is Love Enough?
People often ask me, "Why can't I find someone to love me and for me to love. Why is it so hard to find someone to simply love and cherish me?" I often will then ask them very simple but profound questions, "Do you love yourself?  Are you loveable?  Are you ready to be loved and to handle all that comes with that emotional state of being"?  Most often, I find out that the person asking the question has not thought of loving themselves or whether they are loveable or not. 
Love is a simple yet complex emotion.  More songs have been written about love than any other topic throughout history.  The emotion of love can mean ma
ny things to many people.  I am reminded of what a wise college professor once told me about the emotion of love-"Just as much as you love someone can you also hate them, sometimes at the same time".  The swing between emotions is never more evident than it is when the emotion of love is involved.  I have many people tell me that they love a particular person but their actions sometimes indicate that they do not love that person very much at all.  Narcissicism is the deepest form of self love and each one of us has some but to varying degrees.  How does one love someone and yet treat them as though they do not love them?  The answer is often complex but can be simple as well.  One answer that I believe is true is this-We often have rules and requirements about who we love, how we love them, when we love them, when we feel justified to treat them negatively or badly or when we treat them with love and kindness and understanding.  It is amazing how each one of us can justify just about anything we decide to do.  Most often, we blame the other person and expect them to change so that they are worthy of our love.  Placing rules on love means that love becomes conditional and only occurs when certain circumstances occur.  Is love conditional? For most people, it is. 
Most of us are born into families where we received unconditional love just because we arrived here.  As we grew older, our relationships became more complex. The love that we received seemed to become conditional.  It was based on our words, deeds, beliefs and our ability to identify with the individual that we wanted to love us and vice versa.  Somewhere in our early teens, we started to individuate and to develop our own identity apart from those who had raised us and loved us and we began to notice that conflicts started occurring that we had trouble understanding.  As we individuated further, we found comfort and solace in those of our age group and those with whom we projectively identified.  As time went by, we may have re-established bonds with those we loved prior to our adolescence.  As young adults, we began to be able to understand why "they" acted like they did when we wre growing up and individuating from them.  We became comfortable again with those whom we had so closely embraced in our earlier years.  And yet, we never truly could quite go home again in a manner of speaking.

I believe that love is enough when we practice self love and kindness and gratitude towards ourselves.  We must embrace ourselves if we are truly to grow into functional and healthy adults.  Once we have positive self esteem and self worth, we can share ourselves with another.  We also have to have healthy boundaries, communication and coping skills when it comes to loving someone else.  We often believe that another person can complete us.  The truth is that they add more to who we are and what we do but they are really separate from us.  They are equal to us with equal needs, wants, desires and wishes. 

Love is enough when we can also experience a higher form of spiritual love as well.  What that means will vary from person to person depending on their concept of what spirituality is.  Love is also enough when we are part of a social network and fabric of groups of like minded others who seek that which we seek.  Finally, love is enough when we are connected at all levels of our being to those who give to us and to whom we give.  Love is a higher form of emotion that provides us with the ability to connect to others.  There are many ways to obtain more information about your emotions and the emotion of love. You can attend a 12 step group or a church or spiritual group or a Mastermind Group or other available community resources to learn more  about yourself and your emotions.

John Garlock, Ph.D.

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