When we think about falling in love, we don’t typically associate it with friendship. The term ‘falling in love’ conjures for most of us images of moonlight walks, bouquets of flowers perhaps even an intimate embrace in front of the eiffel tower (I know cheesy). Actually that’s not really what it conjures for me in a romantic encounter sense. I’m thinking more deep conversations, emotional vulnerability, spiritual connection and lots of very hot intense sex. But whatever blows your hair back!
Recently I have gotten really curious about a more expansive view of love, what I notice is when we speak to people about those they love, there is a protectiveness, a desire to make special, a sense that there is only room in our hearts for a select chosen few.
My contention is this: Love by its’ very nature is not special, elite or scarce. In fact love is the most expansive force that exists.
My first experience of this, which I have spoken about with many other Mothers (who shared a similar experience) was, when I was pregnant with my second child. I had moments of complete panic that it would be impossible for me to love him as much as my first child. It seemed totally unfeasible that there would be room in my heart for that much love all over again! But truly at the time shockingly, there was.
Exactly the same panic overtook me at times when pregnant with number 3. Surely I had pushed it too far this time, I felt a little greedy, overindulgent like a love glutton. I couldn’t possibly house as much love for this 3rd baby as I had for each of the others? My heart would surely spontaneously combust and I would be nothing but an icky puddle on the floor?? WRONG again!
I think what I’m trying to convey here is that we have a capacity for love which is so much more expansive than we realize and it isn’t just reserved for partners,children and perhaps a best friend or two.
So back to this point about falling in love and friendship. Brene Brown defines the fertile breeding ground for love as two people allowing themselves to be fully seen by one another.
Do you have friendships like that?
I do. They used to be just a few special ones but now they are expanding to encompass more of my interactions than ever before!
So to dig deeper into that, what happens to us and for us when we allow ourselves to be fully seen by another? I would suggest, deep self acceptance and an ability to fall ‘in love’ with ourselves by who we get to be in our interaction with that other. What?? Am I suggesting that we don’t fall ‘in love’ with someone else but fall in love with who we are in relation to that other?? Am I crazy?
I have had a ‘best’ girlfriend since I was 17 with whom I share everything and I MEAN everything! We have lived in different countries but always speak once or twice a week. She knows the inner workings of my mind like no other person on this planet. I tell her my victories, I brag, I share my deepest shame, my guilt, my inadequacies, my thought processes, my spiritual experiences, ins and outs of my sex life, my children’s lives the whole kit and kaboodle and vice versa. Am I ‘in love’ with her? YES! Absolutely! I actually held this relationship as ‘special’ for a long time. And it is a truly beautiful and sacred relationship.
But is she the only person I can love in this way? What I have learnt recently is that, this is true if I decide it is. If I am open to creating more friendships in which I feel ‘in love’ guess what happens? More and more show up!
Do you know how amazing that is? It is literally one of the best, exciting most elated feelings to interact with multiple people in a day and think “GOD damn it I love them” there is a deep effervescing joy to be found in these experiences. And do you know what I have found that to be directly correlated to? How vulnerable I am prepared to be in an interaction and how much of myself I am willing to allow to be seen.
So what if the state of being ‘in love’ is not being externally generated?
What if the state of being ‘in love’ is internally generated?
Hold the phone! If this were true, I could theoretically choose to be ‘in love’ in every interaction. WHAT? Even with the “assholes”! Because my ability to hold the space of love would not be dependant on someone else’s behaviour but on how I showed up and whether I could feel ‘in love’ with who I’m being in that interaction. I know it’s radical, right?
Now I’m not suggesting that this is easy, holding a state of feeling ‘in love’ when interacting with “assholes” or more lovingly put “those we find challenging” it may seem like a bit of a stretch!
But what if being ‘in love’ is just like any other practice or a muscle?
How do you build a muscle? By working that bad boy out!
The more you work it out, the stronger it gets!
It seems like a worthy goal to me to fall ‘in love’ with as many people as possible.
I guess it’s ultimately kind of selfish, but I’m ‘in love’ with the idea of feeling ‘in love’ as often as possible! It just feels so DAMN GOOD!
My advice: Be brave, be vulnerable, be open to love. Know that your heart has an unlimited capacity to love in every area of your life. Love with reckless abandon! I promise it will be a thrilling, bold adventure and you will LOVE IT!!