Are You Loving You?
What does love mean to you? For some people “loving someone” means they feel loved by them and nothing else; for others, loving someone means they feel fulfilled by being in their presence, or that it’s more of an emotional bonding. If you are in a long term relationship with someone and you’re wondering what it means to be in love – whether it’s love you can call upon to be secure and happy in this relationship, or if it’s just feelings – then you might be feeling like you’re not sure if it’s real or if your partner feels the same. There is a difference between the two and your understanding and assessment of these two realities may help you differentiate between the two.
When you first say “I love you”, it has a completely different meaning from when you say it a year into your relationship (or past that point, for some people). You’re growing with the relationship, you’re growing together, you’re encountering new situations both on an individual and relationship level and, therefore, the definition of love changes with your relationship. What was a loving relationship a year ago, may not be the same as love the next morning. When you are in a committed, loving relationship, then there is a feeling of safety and security that is expressed in the words “I love you”. This security carries over into every aspect of the relationship, from how you interact with each other, to how you communicate, to what you do for a day, to where you go for entertainment.
Feeling “loved” means you feel protected and cared for. You realize that by providing for, and supporting your partner, you have taken on a responsibility that you didn’t have before, that you feel is worthwhile and that other people will want to do the same for you. This is a very rewarding feeling and it makes you happier and healthier (and, at the same time, nicer). It also means that you will have more patience and tolerance for others because, although you can’t change someone else, you have to be willing to wait and to recognize when they haven’t been listening or paying attention.
Feeling “safe” means that you no longer fear what you don’t know about another person. If you are afraid of your partner, of what they might do, of being abandoned, then you aren’t living in love. The fear of abandonment says “I’m not good enough” and prevents love from ever being a possibility. “You shouldn’t be alone” says the other person. “You shouldn’t have to live this way.”
When you feel “loved”, you are free to be yourself and to express yourself fully. “I love you”, is a beautiful thing! It says so much more than any short phrase that you can use. Don’t be afraid to express how much you love another person. When you do, the love you feel will grow and deepen and, before long, will transform into full, true love.
Being “healthy” is choosing to feel great every day and finding ways to make your life better. When you are doing great work, making a difference, loving others and living life with meaning, then you are well on your way to feeling love. And when you feel great and see the world through others eyes, you will feel more appreciated and less expected to be shortchanged and “owed” things because you were too busy doing “other things”. When you choose to feel great everyday, your love will follow.