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If you ask someone if they are a loving person, chances are they would say yes. Why is it, then, that so many of us have trouble giving or receiving love? Some people feel they don’t have the right framework to receive love because of the way they were brought up. Others find the risk of getting hurt stops them from giving love.
The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that the most important spiritual precept is to love your neighbor as yourself. But we have many misconceptions about the nature of love that stop us from fully embracing the blessings it brings.
Here are 3 truths about the nature of love:
1. True love is selfless love. When we hear the word “love,” we often only think about romantic love, and that limits our understanding of what true love really is. Romantic love is about reciprocity, mutual support, and equality, and a healthy relationship requires partners to give as much as they receive. True love for all people goes even deeper than that.It means caring profoundly for someone else and wanting good for them as much as you want for yourself and is never based on what you are going to get or how they make you feel.
Because we attach the definition of love to the kind found in romantic relationships, we often have the wrong expectations of love. We might only be willing to help a friend if they do something for us in return. We may stop being kind to someone once they are rude to us. Giving true love to those in our lives and even strangers means sharing without any expectation in return. It is the deepest, most challenging form of love but also the most rewarding.
2. Love is a learnable skill that takes practice. Although we all have the innate ability to love, it is a skill like any other that requires honing. If we accept that our purpose in this world is to become a greater lover of people, then we have to ask ourselves: how much am I really practicing it?
A lot of us are “good people,” but growing in true love takes effort. We spend a lot more time trying to protect ourselves from getting hurt rather than trying to give and receive love, which requires vulnerability. We don’t want to be disappointed again, so we withhold. Or we don’t want to suffer loss, so we become defensive.
Every single exchange we have is an opportunity to love more. If someone asks for directions, we know that the kind thing to do is say yes and help. But not only can we help them, we can choose to show love while we do it - it comes from a different place. This is how we are meant to truly live our lives.
3. Love is the most powerful way to draw blessings into your life. When you actively push yourself to act and think in love towards others without expecting to receive anything in return, you grow spiritually, and that opens you up to incredible blessings. By being invested in loving another person, you are actually expanding yourself, and in a deeper way, drawing great Light and gifts into your life. Real love must involve the thought of our growth.
One of life’s great paradoxes is that our ego wants us to find fulfillment by thinking only of ourselves when the real way to enrich our lives is by selflessly giving love to others. Our fulfillment is directly based on how much love we are giving. This is the way to live if you want to be fulfilled.
There are very few things that we can do to draw the blessings that we need into our lives other than by manifesting love towards other people. It is the most important work for which our souls came into this world.
Love is one of the most powerful forces in the universe and an incredible tool to bring us lasting fulfillment. It’s time to reframe our understanding of love. Actively pursue love every day. Push yourself to share love for all people in every aspect of your life. Practice sharing from a selfless place and know that you are growing your ability to love and to receive endless blessings in your life.