By Victoria Rae Moore
When it comes to loving, we could all use some improvement. Experiencing love is like having a glass of wine for the first time; there’s no other feeling like it and eventually, your tolerance gets higher. But love is more than a feeling. Alain de Botton says, “Love is not just an admiration of strength, it’s also a tolerance for weakness and recognition of ambivalence.”
One step toward being a better lover is realizing love is a voluntary action. When some people reach a state of ambivalence toward their partner, they take that as a sign love has run its course and the flame has fizzled. When Botton refers to love as a “recognition of ambivalence” he means love isn’t always fiery hot, vibrant and red. There are lackluster phases in every relationship. During these grey periods choose to focus on your partner’s favorable qualities, not their shortcomings. Remember love is time, touch, generosity, admiration, service and selflessness.
Another step toward being a better lover is to become fearless and release expectations. This week two of my friends expressed the idea of “fearing love.” What they are afraid of is not experiencing love but becoming vulnerable to heartbreak. If there is a voice in your head that says, “I’m afraid of being hurt,” or “Love never lasts forever,” it’s time to evolve out of that mindset. Not all relationships are meant to withstand the test of time but broken hearts will mend. Give love without fearing disappointment.
Let me also encourage you to embrace the occasional and inevitable grotesque discomfort that comes with loving. We think of love as delicate and gentle like a rose petal; sweet like the smell of warm chocolate but that’s only one side of it. Love is also a dehydrated desert famine; a mother’s excruciating sacrifice; the physical, mental and emotional transformation that takes place when a woman becomes the vessel to new life. Sometimes to love means to endure unimaginable pain.
If you’re challenging yourself to be a better lover, do it not because of how you want to feel but because of how you want your partner to feel. Also, just because you are becoming a more conscious lover doesn’t mean people around you will, too. We all grow at different rates. Love is patient and kind, remember?
This week, take notice of to whom you say “I love you” and how often. Then, think about if your actions toward those people are expressions of admiration, tolerance, generosity, service and selflessness. This week, when it comes to love, show don’t tell.
Note: I would love to hear from you! Email thoughts, questions, reflections or personal relationship stories to firstname.lastname@example.org