Heart Quilt

by Christine Kniffen, LCSW,
Therapist & Relationship Coach

So, what is love? This is a topic that does not suffer a lack of opinions as to how to define it. It is perhaps one of the most written about, talked about topics we know. Culture is filled with endless platitudes exposing plenty of silly nonsense. Take for example the one that says, “Love is never having to say you are sorry”. Wow, what a load of you know what. Nothing could be further from the truth. Love is absolutely about knowing how to say you are sorry. Love has everything to do with being able to transcend oneself, ego and all, and learn how to become better at empathizing with another. It has everything to do with being able to take ownership of how your words and behaviors affect those around you. Love is like a great big bag of Miracle Grow. It provides an incredible catalyst for growth. When you have the right compatibility matchup two people can soar towards the heavens, higher and higher, leaving behind the “me” attitude and instead learning how to begin paying attention to the greater world at large. Pain keeps people stuck in a terrible loop, endlessly and narrowly focused on themselves, unable to grow. Love moves us forward towards our real purpose. In the context of love, we learn to free ourselves from the fears and anxieties that keep us stuck in tunnel vision. Through love we begin to think about our place in the larger context of the world and we begin to ponder how we might make a positive contribution throughout our lives. Love isn’t just about what we get, love is all about learning to give.

Our entire nature is all about love. When we deny this to ourselves, often by not insisting upon more or else leaving when relationships aren’t working, we deny the world our greatest gift. This is the gift of us. Deepak Chopra once said, “…..you will discover that there is only one beauty, and you are that.” Each person has a unique offering to make to society and the world at large. This is one of the greatest lessons you can teach your children. The message that they are capable, important, valued and especially, that they have something significant to contribute. This supercharges a child’s self-confidence, allowing them to then make smart relationship choices, thereby continuing to pass this fantastic characteristic forward for benefit of both the people and the planet. Oh no, time for a silly little platitude. How about the one that says, “Love conquers all”. It does, if collectively used for the greater good. But, love is never enough in and of itself for a fantastic relationship. One needs a pleasant atmosphere of cooperation, compromise and participation with which to work out the differences. Equally important, we need to be linked with a partner that makes it safe to face and finally rid oneself of the past hurts, hence lies, that we tell ourselves as to our deservedness in life and love.

Love and compassion go hand and hand. According to the Dalai Lama, ‘…genuine compassion is based on the rationale that all human beings have an innate desire to be happy and overcome suffering, just like me”. This understood commonality allows us to feel more connected to others, thus capable of compassion even towards someone we don’t like. Additionally, I heard the other day that research indicates our DNA is 99.9% similar to that of an earthworm. We are all so very much more similar than we realize. Wouldn’t it be great if we all just paused occasionally to let that sink in just a bit? Love opens the door to learning how to acquire dignity and respect for all creatures, great and small. It provides an opportunity for multiplied unity and power to lift those from oppression, poverty and the likes. This is the aspiration of love. This is the great, hopeful potential of love. If you are having any trouble letting love in, then it is time to fight back and do something about it. Stop wasting time and get your gift out to the world. Break down those walls, re-arrange your perspectives on love and relationships and get out there and get some. Love is always ready & waiting. Are you going to come aboard?

Christine Kniffen, LCSW is a Therapist and Relationship Coach. Relationship coaching by phone: 314-374-8396. www.theartofrelatingbook.com; www.christinekniffen.com.