Love. What is it?
We have so many strange ideas about it. The strangest idea that we tie to love is commitment. What does that mean? When we love someone, what are we committed to, exactly? We have an idea that love and ‘forever’ go together. As an American culture, we have built a society around tying those two ideas together. I think this is so interesting. I think these two things can go together, but I don’t think they have to; and I think believing that they have to can actually harm our individual growth and full expression of self.
I don’t think that we should commit to love ‘forever’; in fact, I don’t think that we can, at least not in the way that we perceive and define love within the context of relationship and marriage. What does it mean to commit to loving forever? What kind of love? Are we committing to romantic love forever? Friendship love? Oneness love? Does loving someone mean that you have to stay in relationship with them?
Here is the plain truth: My definition of love has changed over and over again as I grow older. At 20 I thought that I knew what love was, and committed to it. Of course, by 28 that definition had changed completely. So, in my marriage, what did this mean – that I stay committed to my original definition or do I redefine my commitment and commit to something new? What if my new definition of love doesn’t work within my relationship anymore? Do I just give up and stay in the box that I originally committed to? I think that most people do, and I think that they die a little bit on the inside because of it.
We were born to change. We were born to be evolving creatures, to redefine ourselves. We were born to change our minds, our thoughts and our ideas. Then, we are faced with having to make choices to support, shelter and grow this ever changing person that we are, and that we are becoming.
If you are in a marriage or partnership with someone and they are changing and evolving at the same rate and in the same way as you, congratulations! That is a beautiful experience. If you have changed and evolved and your relationship is no longer serving you (or your partner) it’s okay to end that chapter and start another. In fact, that is the most loving thing that you can do.
I believe that loving someone means committing to being my full expression of self (whatever that may look like), and supporting your partner in being their full expression of self (whatever that may look like). Every person deserves two things:
1. To be accepted as their complete, authentic, full expression of self.
2. To be with a partner who is unapologetically, unabashedly expressing their full expression of self.
If I ever stop thriving in my marriage, I will leave - because I love my husband SO much that I always want for him to have the amazing experience of being with a thriving partner AND, I love myself so much that I will never tolerate less then living fully alive. To me, that is love. Holding myself and my partner in the highest for each of us. This does not mean that we don’t work on our relationship, go through hard times or experience the ebb and flow of life. It means that we are more committed to seeing ourselves thriving then to the idea that love means staying together forever.
In every moment, in every situation, there are only two choices: Love or Fear. Which one is keeping you in your relationship? Sometimes ending a relationship is really the most loving action that you can take for yourself, and for the other person. Take some time today, this week, this year and think about love and relationship. What does it mean to you? What is your clear definition of love? What kind of love supports you in being your full expression of self?
Mindy Amita Aisling
ICF Life Coach,
NFPT Fitness Trainer,
OMA Certified Mediator
Mindy Aisling is a certified life and business coach in Bend, OR, exceeding all of the educational requirements & training set forth by the ICF.
She has worked with such organizations as St. Charles Hospital, Soroptimists, The Dispute Resolution Center, Olympic Medical Center, Americorps, and Juvenile and Family Services.
Mindy has been featured in the New York Times, The Seattle Times, The Bend Bulletin, The Peninsula Daily News, KOMO 4 TV, The Oregonian and many more. You can learn more about Mindy here.
Mindy offers professional, affordable online coaching to clients around the world, and local coaching to clients in Bend, Oregon.
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