When you learn to love yourself, you will experience what love is, and you will know how to love.
We read many things about what love is and what it isn't to help us understand love. But love is not something we can understand from our mind. Until we experience it, we don't actually know what it is or how to experience it in our lives.
Is it love when a parent allows a baby to cry and cry, to get them on a schedule or get them to sleep? No!
Is it love when a spouse gets angry with his or her partner for not wanting to make love, saying, "If you love me, you will have sex with me"? Obviously not.
Yet, these people might believe that they are being loving.
If it doesn't feel good and right, then it's not love. (Except for Toughlove, which might not feel good in the moment, but still feels right inside).
This is true both on the inner level and in relationships. If what we tell ourselves and how we treat ourselves feels bad inside, it's not love. If how someone else is treating us feels hurtful inside, then it's not love.
The sad truth is that most people don't know how to love themselves, or others, because they have never experienced what love actually is.
Just like you can't describe a color to a blind person, you can't adequately describe love to someone who has never experienced it. We can use many words, such as:
• It feels safe and nurturing
• It feels full and fulfilling
• It feels happy and joyful
• It feels calm and peaceful
• It feel exciting, alive and vibrant
• It feels light, flowing and creative
• It feel connected and embracing
• It feel fun and pleasurable
• It feels big
We can say all these words, and maybe even get a sense of what it feels like, but until you actually feel it, you don't truly get it in your heart and soul.
So how do we get an experience of love if we have never experienced it?
Sometimes, we need to be held by a loving person to a get the experience of love. This often happens at my 5-Day Intensives, and participants frequently say, "This is the first time I've ever experienced love,"— from both the experience of being lovingly held, and from the experience of spending five days feeling fully supported rather than judged. Most people have little experience with being surrounded by the energy of love when with other people.
However, the truth is that we are always surrounded by the energy of love, since love is the energy of the universe. Love is what God is, what Spirit is. When you fully open your heart to loving yourself and others, and to learning moment by moment about loving action toward yourself and others, you open yourself to the experience of love from your Source.
Anita Moorjani, in her book, Dying To Be Me, shares her near-death experience, where she experienced this profound love. She stated that if she had to sum up her experience in two words, it would be to "love yourself."
It's when you open to learning about loving yourself that you open your heart to allowing in the love of the universe. While it's wonderful and very healing to experience love from another person, you don't need to wait for that to know what love is. You can know directly from the Source of Love. In fact, the more you open to allowing love in from Spirit, the more experiences you will have of sharing love with others.
We can all know in our hearts and souls what love is —when we open to it. When you let it in and feel it in your being, then you will be able to share it. You will know how to love.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her new 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox". The first two weeks are free! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.
This article was originally published at Inner Bonding . Reprinted with permission from the author.