How The Definition of Love Changes SIGNIFICANTLY As You Grow Up

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definition of love
Love, Self

This is how.

First, it's a desire — for passion, sex, adoration, or a surprise. Mostly, it's something that happens to you. You're young or damaged or both.

Love is something you seek, something you crave. Maybe you swipe for. Because if you find it, you will feel whole and safe.

But you might get hurt — often. It makes you angry, resentful, turn away from people easily. Because love doesn't feel, act, play the way you want. This was your definition of love. Then, something happens.

You lose something. Someone. Time, regret, time. Words. Oh, words.

If you're very lucky, you wake up. All the love-taking and feeding yourself on the reactions of others becomes so tiring. Other people are such an unpredictable form of nourishment.

Heartbreak is physical pain. Broken relationships are like a biological ripping apart. There is only one way to heal. Time and more time. If you are lucky or have a great friend to help, you'll find a mirror and take a severe look at yourself.

You see your judgments, tantrums, ultimatums, shredded trust, and that wine glass you threw across the room. At a loss or bruised from banging your head against a brick wall, you start to see. You understand the love you chased was with you the whole time.

Love was yours. And you were supposed to be the giver.

So maybe you do. And you start with yourself. You start to learn how to love yourself. You get older or wiser and realize that the most sacred loving act is to be gentle, kind, and compassionate with yourself. And somehow the desire for more is fulfilled.

The more you give away — smiling at strangers, giving change for the bus to the old man you usually pass with averted eyes, gifting unexpected grace for a wrong done to you, a random unearned hug — the more your heart grows on its own.

You realize love is your power. A balm or a weapon. In the end, you decide to let it soften or harden you. You're the one willing to break or you can be the breaker.

Again if you are lucky, I think, you choose to be exposed, vulnerable and defenseless. Like a child asleep in her mama's arms or a dying man surrounded by a life well-lived, praying hands covering his body as he takes his last breath.

Alone or coupled, you are loved. There's nothing more to want. There is just a spirit of grace ready to be shared at will. Not what you need to be to be happy. And it's enough.

You are whole. You are loved, ignoring all circumstance. In my hope, my goal, my prayer, this is who we become.

Sharon Demko is a Co-Active® leadership coach, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and professional trainer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sharon works with clients one on one, or in teams in organizations, to build strong minds, bodies and spirits. For more info, visit her website.