“What’s Love Got To Do With It?” By Tami Boehle-Satterfield

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With Valentine’s Day coming up on Friday, and paired with a full moon in Leo and Venus conjunct with Pluto in Capricorn, you might feel there is not enough love or money to go around. Leo likes things over the top and creative, but with Venus (love and money) conjunct Pluto (painful and surprising) in Capricorn (deprivation and business minded), the creative Leo might lean into the energies of Pluto and Capricorn. What was meant to be, might become something else. My two cents? Plan thoughtfully and tend the creative energy mindfully. Fortunately, this planetary aspect will pass.

What may be more lasting are your beliefs about love. What do you believe about love?

The matter of love comes up frequently in my private practice. It is not only a matter of Eros or romantic love; it is a matter of the deeper, more spiritual sense of true love. Like what the Greeks termed “Agape” and what the bible references as “unconditional.” It is inclusive of Philia, love that Aristotle described as between family, friends, and lovers, and includes Storge, as described by ancient texts as the natural affection expressed in forgiveness of other’s tyrancies.

It may be helpful to understand your own definition and belief about love. It is interesting that when one is asked, love is often a difficult thing to define. What becomes even more apparent are the conditions that we often place on love and the willingness to measure it in degrees: like the idea that an interchange between people might be considered loving, if it is the best someone can do. But how is it love if it falls short? Isn’t the very definition of love lofty and inspired? It may be true that given one’s life experiences, it is difficult to express and accept love, but that doesn’t make the interchange loving. It simply sheds light on the reason that someone may not be able to participate in a loving interchange.

Here are some definitions of love that have been shared with me:

Love is making someone feel comfortable.
Love is helping someone to be the best they want to be.
Love is helping someone to be the best they can be.
Love is teaching someone how to get along in the world.
Love is doing things for others.
Love is sacrificing for others.
Love is sharing your life with others.
Love is making a commitment to trust others.
Love is helping others through difficult times.

What is your definition of love? Do you believe it is expressed in reciprocity? What is the frequency that it is experienced to qualify for love? Is it sometimes? Is it greater than most of the time? Is it all the time? And then notice what those you love might believe about love.

If you believe that love is making someone feel comfortable and the person with whom you are in a loving relationship believes that love is sharing your life with others, the two of you may find it difficult to understand the other’s perspective on loving. You may feel hurt when you are suffering and you seek comfort from someone who believes love is sharing one’s life with another. Your partner may be bewildered at your need for comfort. Your partner may think, “We are in this together. Isn’t that enough?” If I believe that love is helping someone be the best they want to be and the one I love believes that love is sacrificing for others, he may be very disappointed when I attempt to help him follow his dream instead of financing it.

While these examples illustrate differences in beliefs, they may be bridgeable as long as both parties share the same values. With honest conversation, it is possible that a new definition of love can guide couples, families, and dear friends to a deeper, richer relationship that provides all members a more profound experience of love.

But sometimes, a difference in the definition of love can illuminate great differences in deep values and beliefs. If you were not raised with a solid foundation of unconditional love you might live in uncertainty and insecurity about the meaning of love. Without a solid foundation, it is hard to have a balanced frame of reference and you may easily overlook unloving behavior in the name of love. Ideas about love like “I love you so much it hurts” or “I hurt you because I love you” can become confusing. Clarifying your ideas about love can assist you in learning how to love and receive love in a way that is not only healing, but motivating.

The bottom line here is that love, by nature, is a shared experience. If all parties involved are have the capacity of free will, then it is reasonable to expect that their independent definitions of love support a shared definition of love that feels good greater than 50% of the time.

You owe it to yourself to experience love, because it is reciprocal. When you have been loved you can love and there may not be any human experience as profoundly life-altering as that. What might that mean to the world? “Imagine”, as John Lennon said. This, the retort to Tina Turner’s inquiry, “What’s love got to do with it?”

February 10, 2014

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