By: Bethanie Jones
It has been said, that Eskimos have over 180 words for the word snow. It is such a vital part of who they are, and their culture that they feel the need to articulate it into specifics. I was thinking about love the other day, as it’s such a vast, evasive, and universal sentiment, I found it odd, that we don’t have more words for it. I started noticing throughout my day how many times I felt feelings of “love”, and how they all felt vastly different from one another.
Sometimes, I would feel longing, and I’d miss the softness of someone’s hands on my face and their loving kiss, and other times, I’d feel deep love and respect for a long time, platonic friend. I found myself loving the sunset, or the breeze blowing through my hair. I found myself experiencing deep motherly love, and giddy school girl love. Other times, I found myself full of raw passion and romantic fantasies. I noticed that while “love” was consistently present, it often wore many masks. I also realized, that some of these masks, didn’t always feel so hot.
Sometimes, I found myself needing to let go of someone in order for them to live their best life and was very hard to do so or I went on painstakingly loving someone I simply couldn’t have. Sometimes, you may find yourself loving someone who has since passed away or someone who decided maybe, you weren’t the one for them, but you didn’t quite agree. Sometimes, love doesn’t go our way and we’re left in a pretty tough spot. How can we find room for love when the mask it’s wearing causes us such great pain?
Love can be wildly distressing and bittersweet. While we may have been taught that love is meant to fill us with great feelings of happiness, joy and elation, it sometimes can leave our hearts more desolate and in more pieces than what we originally started with. The truth is, that sometimes, being in love can actually make us really, really sad. Love is what makes us, but also, is what destroys us it seems. As a person who always tends to appreciate both the light and the dark side of things, I pondered the duality of love more extensively. I found that although sometimes the dark side of love hurts us immensely, pain being present in love does not make it something else. It is still love! I started considering the concept of “loving someone from afar”. Trying a different approach, by loving someone through appropriate boundaries that maintain my integrity and a positive mental state. I realized, that I can still very much be in love with someone, even if they aren’t around, even if I am angry with them, even if they don’t love me back or even if they’ve hurt me. The choice to fill myself with this love is just that, a choice, and no one can tell me whom my heart cares for. The realization that I can still love from afar, and that, the love that was once there has not been lost, has brought me great peace.
I have a person in my life who has proven to be extremely difficult to be around. He tends to be very toxic, abusive and hateful and just is all around bad for me. I’m sure we can all think of a few people who fit that description. People whom we may love dearly, but sometimes, can just be plain bad for us. This person fell terminally ill not long ago, and I’ve often struggled with how now, the relationship should change. After I meditated on my intentions, I realized that all I really wanted was for him to simply know that I loved him, so I called and I told him so. He went on to be his normal, angry, toxic self, but I stayed true to my intention. I stayed firm in my messaging, that I wanted him to know how deeply I loved him, and we hung up. I haven’t spoken to him since, but that hasn’t changed the love I have within me. I still think of him often and send him loving kindness. I ask the universe to answer whatever his prayers may be, and that he finds peace and beauty in the world, until he finally gets called home. I often think of him, and imagine him having a great day with his family in the sunshine and healthy. Although he is difficult, and has hurt me immensely, I love him, and being able to continue to do so in my own way, has been life changing.
It is often true that the most “unlovable” people are in fact, the ones who need it the most but that doesn’t mean we have to hurt ourselves in doing so. We can simply and safely love these people from afar. The one that got away? Love them from afar. The person your soul aches for, but for whatever reason, you simply can’t have, love them from afar. The person who has since passed away or the person who has hurt you, all can be loved from afar.
You may think that your love isn’t felt when it’s done in this way, but I assure you, love is transient, and it moves where we wish it. There is nothing stopping you from continuing on those loving feelings and having a healthy relationship with this person that simply stays within the limits of your own heart.
We don’t have to be physically near the people we love. We don’t have to “be in relationships” with them, or physically be able to see them. They don’t have to be “ours” in order to love them, nor do they have to still be in love with us. You see, when love is real, these people simply go on existing inside of us. We are walking accumulations of all the people we’ve ever loved. We are them. They have shaped us forever, and we carry these scars.
True love cannot be found where it does not exist, nor can it ever be hidden where it truly does.