I was petting one of my cats the other day and enjoying how much he was appreciating the attention. He was purring loudly, rubbing up against me, and making it very clear that he loved the love. I was equally happy sharing the moment with him.
The thought then occurred to me how different it would be, how less pleasurable it would be, to pet him and love him if he didn’t respond so appreciatively. If I pet my cats and they were indifferent, if they didn’t purr, I would get far less pleasure out of loving them.
Of course this is true of my human friends too and caused me to wonder, if it is “in giving that we receive,” perhaps what we receive is that satisfaction of helping another to feel loved.
This thought leads to what it is like to love when the object of the love shows no appreciation or satisfaction or pleasure or response. We can probably all relate this to someone we have showered affection on only to be met with a lack of enthusiasm. On the flip side, one of my cats was so needy of my attention that I nicknamed her “the appendage” as she wouldn’t leave me alone. This is equally unappealing and we’ve all known people like that as well. For some, it seems no matter how much time, love, and attention we give, it is simply not enough. In my experience, the hole that is trying to be filled with the attention of another is a hole that can only be filled with self-love and god-love.
Of course, we can see these behaviors in others—the lack of appreciation and the over-zealous neediness—but have we stopped to consider when we are the ones who are not responding? Have we pondered if we are trying to get someone else to fill a need only we can satisfy ourselves? Have we stopped to wonder what it is like for others to love us?
So, I invite you to ponder what it is like to be loved by you and what it is like to love you.
Imagine what it is like for someone to ask you out. Imagine what it is like to share a meal with you. Imagine what it is like to wake up with you. What is it like to make love with you … or to want to? What is it like to give you a gift? What is it like to be sick around you? What is it like to drive in a car with you? To share a home? What is it like to co-parent with you? What is it like to be your child? Your teenager? Your parents? Your siblings? Your neighbor? Your spouse? Extend that awareness to beyond your close loved ones: What it is like to serve you in a restaurant? What is it like to live on the streets you drive down? (Do you pass peacefully or are you disrespectful or completely oblivious to your impact?) See if you can spend just one day in awareness of your impact and your response to those around you.
This is an excellent meditation; this high level of self-observation will bring about some self-awareness. Self-awareness affords you the opportunity to determine whether the way you are showing up in your relationships is serving you (and them), or not. You then have the opportunity to make new choices (if you so desire) and this makes you powerful.
Intellectual Foreplay Question of the Week: What is it like to love you?
Love Tip of the Week: In this time of economic uncertainty, our relationships will become ever more important. However, our level of skill and awareness must also increase in order meet the demand.