Love comes in many forms. Romantic, platonic, family, pets, and any other version you can think of. Many things I do in my life now are the result of love. I tend to my children with motherly love to give them the safe place they need to grow into the amazing humans they are. I spend time with my friends and cultivate those relationships, being mindful to ensure they know that they are loved and appreciated. And pets, well…it’s nearly impossible to not show a pet they are loved in my household, especially when they so easily give that love right back to you.
Love is a necessity for growth, no matter who or where you are. Love is one of those undeniable components that change life from survival mode to allowing one to flourish. Just as humans need a certain amount of hugs to survive versus to thrive, this is just another version of showing our love for one another.
Growing up and well in through the two decades that I was married, I found saying the words I love you to be very forced and painful. It seemed as if I didn’t really know how to say those words and truly feel the meaning of them. I know there is a lot of psychology and background history there that really isn’t something I care to delve into, but there came a time when I was going through my divorce that I discovered what love really is, and I felt as if I had never truly allowed love into my heart until that point. The interesting part is that it wasn’t a romantic love that changed me; it was the love of my true friends who stood with me and helped me through the divorce. They were the ones who showed me what love is and how to embrace those around me. I listened and I learned. I paid attention to their actions and saw how easy it was for them to give a piece of themselves to me. Somehow my heart softened and I could feel real love for the first time. I realized that real love didn’t have to be painful; it didn’t have to hurt. Real love comes without consequence, constraints or ultimatums. Real love just is.
Now that I know how love actually feels, it is easy for me to give that love freely to those near me. I can say those words now and truly mean them, and I do. My friends and family hear them routinely, and assuredly, they come straight from my heart. Don’t underestimate what can happen in a year. These changes happened over the course of the last six years, and I am a completely different person today than I was then. I owe a good deal of that change to those who stood with me and those who cried with me, and I reciprocate the love that I received from those dear friends right back and without reservation.