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The Truth About True Love


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Last summer, I was at a playground with my children and I struck up a conversation with the man who maintained the property. The topic of relationships came up and I shared my belief that the only kind of love that is truly love is the kind not based upon conditions. He disagreed, telling me if I wanted unconditional love to get a dog. I felt sad for him, but he did have a point about the qualities of dogs.

My dog, Kipper, always greeted me at the door with warm affection even after I left him alone all day in my tiny house. Even on the days I skipped his daily walk he would still joyfully give love to me in the only ways dogs can (licking, jumping etc). He certainly loved me with no strings of any sort attached. I didn't need to earn his love. He had no rules for me about the way that I should be. I was free to be myself even on my worst days without fear of his rejection or criticism. He enjoyed treats, but I didn't need to give him anything for him to be loving. Not once did he withhold love from me, he was always willing to give without reservation.

I miss Kipper, he possessed all the traits of an unconditionally loving being. I believe we can all be like Kipper and love in this way. In fact, I believe it is the truth of who we are at the core of our being. We are love.

If you don't feel that you have this no-matter-what love, even if you have everything else a person could want, you will feel empty. Many people think they can only have love when someone else gives it to them in a way that they recognize as love. So they seek for it, thinking someone else can fill them up. This never works. You are the love that you seek outside yourself to find, and you become aware of this when you happily give love indiscriminately. To give unhappily is obligation and isn't loving.

The power of indiscriminately given unconditional love to create miracles in your life cannot be overstated. Not necessarily the “incredible event that happens in the world around you” kind of miracle, but the “transformation that occurs deep within” kind.
Unconditional love is an inner experience, a way of being that can't be gotten from anyone else or found anywhere in the world outside. It's also not a feeling. It's a choice to give love, moment by moment, regardless of how you feel or what the other is doing or has done. Even more accurately, it is a choice to be love right now. Paradoxically, when you can be love within yourself, needing nothing outside of you to be it for you, love is all that you will see everywhere and in everything. The kind of shallow romantic “love” portrayed in movies and books must be transcended in order to get to the love that is real. When you accept the other exactly as they are and have a desire for their good feelings and well being as much as you do your own you know that you love them. When you choose to extend love to the other at all times and expect nothing in return, that is love.

How can you put this into practice in your everyday life? By taking yourself out of your own experience and putting yourself into the proverbial shoes of the other and then treating them with the kindness you would like to have extended to yourself, but in the way they prefer. Kindness is love in action; as is attentive listening, empathy, acceptance, forgiveness, appreciation and compassion.

Where it gets challenging for even saintly humans, is to do this with every being at all times. We are all imperfect and can't always love in this way. Perhaps the goal could be to consciously choose to be loving in the present whenever you become aware of it. Even and especially in the difficult circumstances, ask yourself: “What can I do to be loving and give love to the being I'm with right now?”



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About the Author

Rhiannon Smith, Love and Closeness Coaching
14 McConnel
North Kingstown, RI 02852
(401) 391-8386

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