I am one of those people who can love really hard. Not just any and every person, as I do have my discerning moments, but in my friendships and love relationships, I have a tendency to wrap others tightly in what my therapist calls my “love blanket.”
We are all shaped by our life experiences. Just like everyone else, I’ve had tough moments that I had to learn from and I’ve had great moments that reinforced my thirst for experiencing more life. I am fortunate to have grown up surrounded by the love of my mother, father, stepmother, my deceased stepfather, all five of my older brothers, a younger stepbrother and a host of other family members and close friends. Being embraced in such a warm way as I was growing up helped me to feel secure in sharing my love with others as an adult. What I’ve had to learn and understand though, is that not everyone has had a similar loving experience and so they might not be as comfortable receiving the love as I am in giving the love. This is when I have to be mindful of how I’m using my love blanket.
I’ve certainly had my fair share of bumps and bruises along my love journey. There were definitely those breakups where I told myself I was going to box up my love and put it on a shelf so it wouldn’t get hurt again. But as I was thinking about this earlier today, I realized that no matter how hard it was to go through a breakup or for a long period of time without speaking to a close friend, I’ve always managed to come back around and be willing to share my love again.
I met a woman this summer who told me that she only allows herself to go so far in relationships, because she doesn’t want to experience the pain of heartbreak. When she reaches a point where she thinks her feelings are becoming too invested, she’ll find a reason to break things off. Even though I was going through my own heartbreak at the time, I remember thinking how sad that was to me. If she continued living that way, she would never completely allow herself to fully experience the joy and euphoria of love. Indeed, there is always a chance that things might not work out; that’s the “hook,” if you will. The source of some of your greatest joy can also become the parallel source of some of your greatest pain. The investment is worth it though. If we remember that love is truly a gift from the Universe then we will always be grateful for the experience, no matter how brief it may be. There are some things in life that can be a sure bet, but when we receive the gift of love, there is no guarantee of how long we will have it. We can only do our best to appreciate and nurture love while it is in our hands, as well as do our best to accept and release when it’s time to let love go. They say the greatest achievement and the greatest love both take the greatest risk. However, the key is to always make sure you invest in your self first…when it comes to both achievement and love.
I can admit that my love blanket is currently resting on the shelf, but not for fear of using it. I’m in a space and place where I’m really enjoying getting to know myself better. I guess you can say I’m betting on the house right now. But my favorite season of Fall is upon us. I love the colors of the changing season, the first taste of the crisp air and rooting for my favorite football team (Go NY Giants!) in my favorite team sweatshirt. When the time comes, I’m sure I’ll be ready to pull out my love blanket too.
Keep Love Alive. Peace.