“Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi
After I wrote yesterday’s post about giving and receiving love, I started to think about the many times in the past when I felt love-deprived.
It’s easy to feel that way when we’ve been hurt or we think we’re alone—as if there aren’t any people who are really looking out for us.
In retrospect, I realize that when I felt this way, it wasn’t that no one loved me. It was that I was too busy looking for love to open my eyes and see it.
I was too busy craving romantic love to recognize and appreciate the other forms of love coming at me; as a result, I came to every potential partner with a deep sense of neediness and lack.
Love was the one thing I didn’t have. And yet it was all around me.
What I’ve learned is that receiving love doesn’t necessarily mean opening up to a long-term relationship, though of course it can mean that. It also means consciously looking for acts of love and them choosing to appreciate and accept them.
When someone looks out for you, empathizes with you, stands up for you, listens to you, relates to you, appreciates you, respects you, accepts you, or acknowledges you, they are giving you love.
When someone thanks you, encourages you, believes in you, supports you, forgives you, soothes you, uplifts you, or trusts you, they are giving you love.
When someone opens up to you, tries to know you, stays strong for you, assumes the best in you, compliments you, mentors you, makes time for you, or makes an effort for you, they are giving you love.
Love is always coming at us, in one form or another—sometimes from friends, sometimes from family, sometimes from strangers we may only know in passing.
It might be a thoughtful call at just the right time, a warm hug for no good reason, or even a supportive blog comment on a day when you felt weak and afraid.
We all have so much love to give, and we’re giving it every day. The only question is whether or not we’re also able to recognize and really receive it.