Yogi Assignment: All About Love
Did you know that love is a language? We each express love in different ways. Some of us express love by giving gifts. Other feel love through physical affection. Still others love by performing acts of service, affirming words or spending quality time together. These five love languages were first presented by Dr. Gary Chapman and taking time to reflect on how you love is often an important step on the inner journey.
This week’s Yogi Assignment is all about love. Start off by defining your own love language. What is the way that you best receive love and what is the way that you best give love? Then, ask what the love language is of someone close to you, whether your child, partner, parent or friend. By understanding how someone close to you is most open to receiving love you can better express love to them in a way that works for them.
Love itself is the greatest gift we have to give. One of the most gracious things you can do as a human being is to let someone love you in the way that they know how. Assuming it causes you no harm, there is grace in simply receiving love. Like if your parents love to give you gifts and it causes you no pain, then let it in. Or if your partner loves to hold hands and snuggle, let them cozy up next to you sometimes even if you’re not naturally physically affectionate. If someone expresses love by performing acts of service for you, then let them help you sometimes even if you’re fiercely independent. Let yourself be loved.
We are all flawed imperfect humans. We love with our whole and broken hearts. But love we do, of that there is no doubt. We all speak different languages of love. When you reject the way someone loves you it hurts. Someone could be standing in front of you loving you with their whole heart and you’re blind to it because all you see is someone trying to hold your hand when you’re already hot and sweaty. But perhaps it’s something way deeper. Perhaps we aren’t comfortable letting someone love us because we don’t want to let all that love in. It can be overwhelming, smothering even, to fully experience the depth of someone’s love for you, especially if they love you unconditionally like only a parent really can.
When I was younger I felt smothered by my father. But then I just let him love me and it was the best decision I ever made. I remember that for about the last ten years I thought to myself that my only intention each and every time I saw my father was to be sure that he felt loved. I celebrated every gift he gave me and welcomed every offer to help. We are all daughters or sons, we have been born into the arms of love, like bundles of joy. If we are lucky enough to have parents who lift us up, love us and believe in us we are blessed beyond belief.
My husband and I have different love languages. Tim expresses love through physical affection and quality time. I express love through gifts and acts of service. He has taught my how to speak his love language and now I love being cozy with him and snuggling and spending as much time as possible with him. I always look for a present to bring back to Tim whenever I travel and I realized that this is a way that I express my love for him. It’s not about the object, it’s about saying that I was thinking of him and considering his needs. When my father was too sick to speak anymore I held his hand for hours when I visited, understanding that my presence was all that was needed for him to know I loved him. As you look back at your childhood perhaps you can see your parents in a different light? All those moments when your Mom cleaned up your room weren’t an invasion of privacy but her way of saying she loved you and was taking care of you. All those whacky gifts from your grandparents were their way of saying they loved you. All those encouraging words about how intelligent or talented you are weren’t meant as pressure, they were just affirming the love that your family felt for you.
Once you know what language of love your heart speaks its easier to let yourself be loved. Maybe you have had a traumatic past so physical affection is difficult, but you’re open to positive words of encouragement. These languages are tools that lead you into intimacy with your heart. Of course, at the center of the desire to be loved and give love is the question of worthiness. If you don’t feel worthy of love you’ll never let it in, no matter how much you intellectually understand how to express love. Worthiness isn’t tied to act. It’s inherent and inalienable. You are worthy of love. It’s that simple.
Sometimes when I think about how much love there is in the world I get a little crazy. Think about this: every single person has loved something or someone, whether a child, a parent a pet or even a plant. Look around you today whenever you are and assess how many people are nearby, then think about this—each one of the people has love in their hearts (including you!). There are billions of people on Earth, which means billions of hearts capable of love. And that’s not even including all the cats and dogs and animals and we all know how much and how purely they love! It’s overwhelming, all this love.
So yes, it really is all about love. But in order to feel it, you have to let it all in. There’s so much love waiting for you that if you start to see it, you might think it will break your heart, but it won’t. Love only grows and gets stronger. Love will only break you if you try and keep it out.