Love can be defined as a profoundly tender, passionate affection (1). Thus loving what is entails the potential for every person, regardless of her or his history, gender, personality, or life circumstances, to develop a new, inspiring relationship to all facets of their lives.
Loving what is goes beyond just loving a certain person or a certain job. It encompasses a new framework with which to live our lives.
If this sounds too esoteric, there are countless examples of human beings who have transformed the quality of their lives either spontaneously through an unexpected insight or consciously through personal investigation. Some modern well-known people who have had this kind of experience are Byron Katie, Sydney Banks, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, and Anita Moorjani, but there are countless numbers of other people with less famous personal stories of transforming from a life of fear to a life fueled by loving intentions.
It's amazing the ripple effect that this exploration of love can have. For living from the framework of love encompasses making different decisions and therefore tends to result in different circumstances….ironically. This is ironic because so many of us try to change our circumstances by fixating on the problems outside of us instead of looking inward.
“Our corner of the universe is our own life–our relationships, our homes, our work, our current circumstances–exactly as they are. Every situation we find ourselves in is an opportunity…to teach love instead of fear. It's never really our circumstance that needs to change–it's we who need to change.” – Marianne Williamson
Many people are interested in the pursuit of the “good life.” And after people spend decades chasing their ideas of what the good life means: career success, the “perfect” husband or wife, 1.8 children, a dog, a brand new car, and the huge house with the picket fence…many are disheartened to discover that acquiring all of these things didn't bring them what they thought it would.
“Very few of us were given a sense of unconditional approval, a feeling that we're precious because of what we are, not what we do.” — Marianne Williamson
Not to be too cheesy here but, could unconditional love be the missing ingredient? The “good life” then would be a life with more love in it, with more good feelings of well-being, inspiration and connection that were not dependent on achievements and circumstances. How would this be different than the continual cycles of negativity, stress, and self-loathing many of us fall into from time to time?
Many people express the desire to live the second definition of the “good life”, but find it too hard. So, what is the biggest barrier to love then?
This really is something that someone can only discover for themselves. It takes effort, but it is well-worth the investigation. Imagine this. What if your biggest barriers to love aren't what you thought they were? What if not feeling more love in your life has nothing to do with your personality type or your past?
What if love is what naturally exists when negative thoughts, worries, and judgements drop away? And what if all human beings have moments where their negative thoughts, worries, and judgements naturally drop away, no matter their diagnoses or current stresses?
After all…every person experiences changing thoughts and moods at some point. What if you took a step back from trying to think more positively all the time and just became more aware of the moments you naturally feel peaceful and free?
What if you eased up on yourself and took a break from trying to improve yourself, even just for a day or two? Maybe you'd discover that you were never broken all along, that your childhood capacity to love and freely be at peace with yourself has never really gone away, it has just been covered up by years of concepts, cultural conditioning, and self-critical thoughts.
What if you have always been good enough, that you are innately lovable at your core? What if it isn't hard to experience love?
“Insight, the power of realization to extend our human experience beyond the imagined or previously perceived boundary of ‘who I think I am’, is a built in emancipator…Insight allows you to transcend…unnecessary limitations and assumptions and grants you the freedom to consider all of the possibilities of the situation.” – Jeanne Catherine
- Am I willing to see life differently?
- Is this thought, that I can't experience more love, true? How do I know with absolute certainty this is true?
- How does this thought make me feel? What could I do and who could I be if I no longer believed this thought?*
*Questions have been inspired by Byron Katie's The Work, Marianne Williamson, and the author's personal inspiration.
(Read this next: Love That lasts (A Case Study into 50 Years of Relationship Bliss))