Rachel had the deepest emerald green eyes I had ever seen. She told me I was to be her boyfriend and when I agreed she threw her arms around my neck, flung her head back and folded one leg as she pulled me in for my first hug. It was like a scene from a movie. I had never made anyone so happy. I was seven years old and I have loved women ever since.
Thirty two years later and I am just now beginning to learn the basics of love making. I am not talking about sex. I mean making, creating, and expressing love. It has been my failures, my loss of great women fused with my adoration of them that has kept me aware, attentive and ever pursuing better and truer ways to love them. Some of this may be lessons you have already learned. For those of you as dense, slow and damaged as I am, I would like to share my lessons from the field.
I used to be the type of man who would surrender everything, do everything for his woman, because that was my definition of love at the time. Only now do I see that love has nothing to do with you, but the person you are loving.
I once loved a woman by doing everything for her. I set plans for the evening, started her car for her on winter mornings, tried to give her solutions to her problems. She told me she wanted me to be more romantic. She wanted me to let her discover solutions on her own. Rather than listen to her, I became too wrapped up in my hurt ego, translating her message into a personal rejection. I lashed out and tried desperately to make her wrong. Sadly, it wasn’t until years later that I realized that she was just trying to teach me her language, what her definition of love was. She was trying to teach me how to love her.
I have often heard that relationships take work, but no one has ever broken down what that “work” might be, what it would look like. To me, the work is listening. We think we listen to each other, because we recognize the vibrations coming from the other, but we rarely recognize that the message is hijacked, trumped by the voice in our head.
The work is our ego. All we hear sometimes is, “They’re unhappy with us! Do something! Make it untrue! Debate it!” And sadly, that takes us down a path to repair something unbroken.
Listening is receiving. Receiving is allowing whatever is being sent to enter our domain, our consciousness without judgement or censorship. Unfortunately the message often is stained with whispers from our insecurities and fears. We become angry with this person for saying something that triggers such a negative feeling in us. We wrongly blame them. Then the most tragic thing happens. We forget they love us. When that happens we respond to them as if they were an enemy.
Even if they are hurling insults and anger at us, it is simply them shouting “SEE ME! KNOW ME! LEARN ME!”.
Nobody is purely good. We all have our dark and embarrassing side. The moments when we are unable to hide them are sometimes infuriating.
We all want to be loved.
But to be truly loved, one must be truly seen.
It seems to me that the “work” is to truly love and care for oneself, continuously work at diminishing insecurity so we can clearly see what is being sent to us. You are your first love. You are your dojo when it comes to becoming proficient at love. How careless are we to think we can love someone well when we love ourselves so poorly?
So this is one of many lessons I have learned and would like to share with anyone who has yet to see this.