Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Don't Be Stingy With Love

I say this kind of stuff all the time, and so do lots of other people out there in the world, but it's my space, so I'm going to say it again.  Maybe these are just constant reminders to myself. Either way, here we go again.

Don't be stingy with your love.
Don't be afraid to love people.
Don't be shy about telling those people that you do love them.

This life is short and violent and unpredictable. Bad things happen. Shocking things happen. People screw up and make mistakes. Sometimes huge mistakes. So what. Death and disease and wretched crimes happen. It sucks.

This life is also long and beautiful and wonderous. Fantastic things happen. Breath taking things happen. People step up and stick their necks out taking risks. Sometimes huge risks. Be impressed. Love and joy and laughter for no reason happens. It's amazing.

This life is a bittersweet crammed full mixture of both. Life is cluttered up with the mundane and monotonous and the must get dones. It's easy to get lost in the endurance part of life, the parts that say just keep going, take the next step, get to the next thing. That isn't all bad, because we can't stop and and get stuck by all that is life and yet, somehow, we need to stop in each moment and find it.

We need to find the moment in the moment. We need to see the glitter. We need to let ourselves be awed and amazed. We need to pay attention and see the dimple in our friends smile, the twinkle in their eye and laugh with them. We need to joke and laugh and touch. We need to flirt and breathe and live. We desperately need to be alive and present in our life, not just filling in the time with being busy and TV and sleep and junk food and Facebook.

Our culture is crazy.  Exhaustion is a prize. Rushing and being busy and serious is the expectation. We're lazy if we aren't striving for position and possessions and accolades. The man who is content is crazy and weak. The woman who spends her time on relationships instead of redecorating is nutty. We're so consumed with keeping up, catching up and getting ahead we don't even know where the measure is anymore. We're rushing to keep up, but with who and why? We don't know.  Maybe there was someone, maybe there never was. Catch up to who? For what reason? Get ahead of who? Why?

The only person we're getting ahead of is ourselves and in the race, the rush, we're falling all over ourselves and missing out on the best this life can give us.

We miss the love my friends, and that may be all there really is.

We do love people, we do.  We aren't that cold hearted and cruel. We love our friends and our families and our kids.  We love our spouses and our pets and our coworkers. Mostly.

Laugh here, you're supposed to. Remember one of the points above? We're way too serious. About everything. We're missing all the joy.

Anyway, we love people, but we are stingy with it. We don't say it. We don't show it. We assume people somehow know it. Like love is spread by osmosis.

I know, we can't just run around all day saying those words to everyone without getting the world riled up. It's not the norm to end your phone calls or visits with "I love you" unless it's close family. It's not ok to cuddle unless it's your kid or your person. We confuse "I love you's" and snuggles with romance and frankly, sex.

I'd argue you can snuggle up or hold hands and not have it be a big old romance but just some nice contact. I think hugs can happen without being weird.  Maybe not, but it's probably worth the risk.  I'm guessing the weird hugger is just out of practice of being touched or touching others.

In place of saying "I love you" and weird-ing people out, how about a nice "I like you" or maybe something along the lines of "you're really interesting" or "you're fascinating" or maybe even "I like talking to you" or how about "I like hanging out with you".  Lots of these work to say "I love you" without saying the actual 3 words, unless of course you don't actually mean the words.  Then it doesn't work.  Then you're fake.

You know what else has to happen with all this? Besides the words and the touches?

You need to love the other person. That means you have to take a chance. You have to open a part of yourself and let them love you back.

It's really not all that complicated.

It's not perfect. Love isn't immunity from life and all the yuck that is part of it. Not at all. Loving a person, loving a lot of people, is rocky and hard.  It's work. There are slights and wounds and tears. It doesn't always last forever. Sometimes you make a mistake and a person doesn't match up with you in a way that's good or positive for you, and I don't mean in a self-centered, selfish kind of way. Sometimes a person you want to love or try to love or think you love is really somehow destructive to you. Walk away. Love from a distance and have faith that someone else will love them up close.

The thing about this love, the love that's hard and risky and dangerous, it's good for the soul. Even with all it's bumps and bruises and scraped elbows, it's good. It helps you sleep better at night and have some peace in the day.

It's all just my long, meandering way of saying don't be shy about love. Go ahead and jump in. It'll never be perfect. It'll never be easy or clean. Don't wait around for the perfect moments or the perfect words or the perfect people.

The people that love on the most people are the happiest and most loved people in return.

The people that take the chance and love when it feels risky or scary get the biggest rewards for their love giving.

Love is where the wealth is.

Tell your people they are your people. Give the hugs, hold the hands, laugh, look in each others eyes. Tell them they mean the world to you. Tell them they're a big deal to you. Tell them whatever it is you need to tell them. Value all your "us-es". Recognize and respect how much you need and treasure those "us-es" in your life. Touch their arm or shoulder or back, it will be ok.

And now you've had enough of my feel good, do good crap. You can return to your regularly scheduled life, just don't miss the glitter. I promise you, it's right there.

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