What does love mean to you?
When, where, and/or with whom in your life are you with-holding love on some level? Why do you feel the need to do so? Is it because you lack trust in yourself, the other person or in the situation? Perhaps you are self sabotaging. Maybe it's out of spite, envy or jealousy. Could it be you don't believe in yourself, your worth or love?
Fear is one of the biggest reasons people hold back love from themselves or others, or in situations they don't like.
They might be afraid of being hurt, rejected, misunderstood, or being alone, settling, being honest or taking risks.
Sometimes people withhold love because they are stuck in resentment and hurts from the past and they fear if they love themselves, the other person, or a situation, that they might get hurt again or that things will never change. So, what's the point of trying?
It's true. Sometimes experiences can leave you feeling less than lovable at the time and often for a long time to come, but remember you always have a choice to love or to hate, or to like or dislike someone or something, including yourself. The choice is yours and yours alone. No one can make that decision for you.
Maybe you have forgotten what love means, and that you are love, and that it truly is the answer to all problems and concerns. It's a call for love, for yourself, another person, or what is occurring in your life.
A group of 4-8 year old were asked what love meant to them. Here are some of their responses. See if you can find the innocence in love again that you might have buried beneath the upset, bitterness, and/or trepidation that sometimes arises in your life.
Let your heart open, even if only a crack, and let these wonderful words of wisdom remind you of what love means.
"Love is that first feeling you feel before all the bad stuff gets in the way". Charlie, Age 5
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love". Rebecca, Age 8
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth". Billy, Age 4
"Love is what makes you smile when you are tired". Terri, Age 4
"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen". Bobby, Age 5
"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend you hate". Nikka, Age 6
"Love is hugging. Love is kissing. Love is saying no". Patty, Age 8
"When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you're scared they won't love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you, they love you even more". Matthew, Age 7
"There are two kinds of love. Our love. God's love. But God makes both kinds of them". Jenny, Age 8
"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well". Tommy, Age 6
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day". Mary Ann, Age 4
"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you". Karen, Age 7
"Love is when someone hurts you and you get so mad but you don't yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings". Samantha, Age 7
"You really shouldn't say I love you unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget". Jessica, Age 8
Which one(s) of these quotes plucked a string in your heart as you read it?
Maybe you have another quote(s) on love that really strikes a cord in you, or you have a few of your own. Write them down and post them somewhere where you can see them often.
Perhaps there is a photograph, picture, or place where you feel love. Whatever helps you to let go and love again, try it. You might be pleasantly surprised when you do.
If you find yourself withholding love with yourself, another or in a situation, read the quote(s), or ask a child what love means to them and see if your heart doesn't return to love again; your natural state of being.
Be the expression of love that you were born to be. Let the past and your fears go. Love openly and honestly.
Don't wait for that special day to tell someone you love them, or for something or someone great to come into your life to show love. Certainly don't allow the past to keep you from loving anymore.
The Insight Technique assists you in seeing how and where you are withholding love for yourself, another, or in a situation, and what you can do about it.