Live wholehearted. Love wholehearted.
It's what we were made to do. But it can be incredibly challenging and at times vague. What does it really mean to live and love wholeheartedly?
[M]y friend Sarah always says that love is what happens when we show up in our lives with our whole hearts and this has totally transformed the way I think about love in my life. This means love has very little to do with anyone else and SO MUCH to do with me and how I decide to show up in my own life. In other words, if I am lacking love in my life, I have one person to blame: me. If I want more love in my life, there is one person who can turn up the volume on love: me. And we do it by speaking our truth, even when we’re worried about being rejected, by holding space for ourselves to feel whatever it is we feel, by learning to reach out for another person without letting go of ourselves, and again, by admitting our own need and craving for love—making space for it to grow in our lives.
Love is less something we find than it is something we practice, less something we uncover than it is a pre-existing reality we become more and more aware of over time, less something we build than it is something we soften to.
We do not have to fight for love or compete for love.
We open to it and find it already exists in us and all around us and we have more if it than we ever dreamed possible. - Allison Fallon
Living wholehearted means not holding back. It comes from a place of knowing who we are-- that we are fundamentally beloved. We were created to love and be loved.
It means creating space for love in our everyday lives.
Living wholehearted is the opposite of living and moving on autopilot. Living our lives on autopilot might seem safer, and it's definitely less work, but it's also far less rewarding.
If we're living our lives on autopilot instead of being invested in them, we'll miss so many rich opportunities to engage in meaningful relationships, do important work, enjoy our time, and make a difference in the world. If we try to safeguard our hearts by locking them away or removing them from the equation, we take all the passion and joy out of our lives along with them.
Loving wholeheartedly isn't reserved just for romantic relationships.
It means being wholly invested in all of our relationships-- with our parents, siblings, extended family, friends, coworkers, neighbors...everybody.
It means understanding that, as Allison Fallon was quoted as saying above, if we're lacking love in our lives, the solution is for us to love more. It's like saying that in order to have a good friend, you have to be a good friend.
We all have the capacity to love those around us. We're all in a position to treat others with love, kindness, and respect. It's simple, but it isn't always easy.
Loving wholeheartedly requires putting the needs of others above our own. It means being willing to go out of our way to do something kind for someone-- whether it's bringing a meal to a family with a new baby, shoveling your neighbor's driveway, or helping an overwhelmed coworker with their workload.
Love serves. Love does. It's not complicated, but it does take thought and effort. For many of us, it's not the way we naturally show up in the world. But isn't it a better way? I certainly think so! Just imagine what would happen if everyone chose to be more loving, kind, compassionate, and service-oriented!
CREATING SPACE FOR LOVE
In our culture of criticism, judgment, and individualism, it can be hard to love others and feel loved by others.
With the constant availability and false anonymity of the Internet, we're given endless opportunities to contribute to the hate, ignorance, and constant criticism of others and their work in the world.
Just think about it-- how many times have you read critical comments on social media or ridiculous product reviews on Amazon? We are given so many chances to provide feedback and engage with others, and yet we use those opportunities to criticize, belittle, and try to force our agendas.
What would happen if, instead, we chose to create more space for love? If we forced ourselves to pause before typing a hasty reply, a nasty rebuttal, or an overly critical review? What would happen if we remembered there are real people with real feelings on the other side of the Internet who will read our words? What would happen if we chose to be loving and kind instead, despite how others may offend us and act in ways that are not loving?
Our behaviors don't have to be reactionary. We don't have to sink to the level of those around us when they're slinging the vitriol or gossiping in the corner.
We can choose to create space for loving responses, kind words, encouraging messages, or at the very least, refrain from saying unkind things and remain silent when criticism wouldn't add anything valuable to the greater conversation.
There's a difference between constructive, helpful criticism and criticism that cuts to the bone and knocks someone down a peg. I know it, and I'm pretty confident that you do, too. So let's start living and loving wholeheartedly, let's start being kinder with our words, and let's start creating more space for love.
What can you do to live more wholeheartedly today? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!