Teaspoon of Happy

What Does It Mean to Be In Love?

It is to truly see someone, inside.  Their beautiful soul.  It is a rare and precious knowledge, and for you to be given the gift of this sight means you contain the right ingredients in your own soul. Often we feel such powerful emotions for another that we believe we are in love, but in reality we are viewing the person through a tainted lens – one that is obscured by the traumas of the past, and therefore we are unable to see things properly.  We will grab toward the idea of loving that person, struggling to solidify our happiness together, but eventually look down to find our palms empty, again and again.  To find our mates, first we must be ready, ourselves.  And the growth we require can only be got with experiences that give us personal insight.  The hard lessons we learn when we confront our truths.  By putting ourselves out there and trying to love others, we learn of misperceptions and collect the missing pieces of ourselves: what we want, who we are, and who we are not.  Through this honesty and acceptance of our truth, we grow better at seeing what rewards us in others. And in our attempts to find our match, we grow into our more authentic self.

To love another you must take in all of them: the depth and contrast that defines them. Their fabric, but more importantly, who they chose to become based on their experiences.  Love comes from accurate sight, and a person’s true beauty comes from all of them: the darkness and the light.  If you only focus on the light exterior, you are missing half of the truth.  When you recognize great value inside the heart of another, it’s like hearing a singular mating call aimed just at you. You are recognizing the finite elements that you know to be of value to your own heart.  This is a powerful knowledge to have for many reasons, the best being its ability to inspire more growth inside you.  Being in love unlocks energy and a thirst for better because you want to give of yourself.  It is the greatest gift you have to give. You become driven to show this person how you feel in any way possible: with affection, support, attention, being of service and giving your time. It is both selfless and rewarding in that you are fulfilled by acts of kindness that bring them happiness.  Which in turn, makes you feel like a wonderful person.

Love enlightens your understanding of the world around you. You gain a special awareness and vision of what would normally go unnoticed: the beauty in others, in nature, and the immense value of what it means to be alive. Your emotional understanding of humanity grows much greater because you see things as more than just yourself, alone.  You see things as you plus this new wondrous insight, this other, this one you love. This heightened awareness also provides, much like a magical elixir, strength and energy beyond what you could access alone.  You gain a new set of heightened senses: you smell, hear, taste more beauty.  It gives you relief from pain.  It unlocks chambers of your compassion and benevolence.  It gives you a greater connection to humanity at large.

When you are not in love, it will feel never fully yours.  It can feel heavy and daunting.  Or desperate and scary, almost like it is about to be stolen.  Or just out of reach – you want and want but are never fulfilled. What this means is something is getting in the way of your readiness and ability to love.  You need to do some work on yourself and get to the root of it because you are most likely seeing the wrong elements and misinterpreting the person and situation.  It is well worth it, as it can be changed so that you can be in the wonderful state that is love, and you will both be much happier.  Once that inner obstruction has been uprooted, you will be given the ability to love someone back – the way it should be given: from a whole place, where you can give of all of yourself.

Love needs to be healthy, and if it is not, it’s not love.  It’s selfishness and fear collaborating to cause you to cling, despite what is painful, hurtful and numb. Sometimes we choose mates based on this pain and together we can better heal.  A couple that is ready for personal growth will grow into a truly loving place, together. They use the stability and vision of the other to grow toward a place that is stronger than they could have alone, untangling the shallow roots that grew around the rocks and rubble of a shaky foundation.  When that happens, they will be better to one another because they will be stronger in themselves: so big in heart and free in soul that they will shoot higher and higher, side by side – but still strong, apart. When you reach that place of wholeness, the stress and fear goes away because you are not using this other person to fill something incomplete. Truly loving another means wanting their happiness regardless of how that might affect you. And it means being happy in yourself, outside of them.

Love is the most powerful knowledge to gain in the entirety of life. It can give you the key to a wonderful existence that you could never access without it.  Pursue it bravely and honestly.  Take good care of yourself and covet your heart’s value.  Know that you will be okay if something causes you pain.  Have hope and optimism and let the rest go.  And as soon as you are ready, you will find who you’ve been looking for.  To truly love another person, you must first love yourself so that you can give of yourself with unfettered access.  Without this personal knowledge you won’t be able to truly see others – most importantly, the one you love.

Inspired by the best first date ever. 

Featured image via Naomi Grace

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=517086794 Marcy Scardino

    Thank you very much for writing this. I’m happy to see someone finally shared the real thing that makes love REAL!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670986056 Sarah May Bates

      You make me blush Marcy! Thank you thank you xoxo

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501803484 Christopher Traslaviña

    This is something that I really needed to read today. It helped give me some insight into my own situation, especially the fourth and fifth paragraphs. Thank you for helping to shed some light on my own actions.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670986056 Sarah May Bates

      Thank you, Christopher! That makes me feel very fulfilled. So glad to read it. xo

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=534778359 Paul Poling

    I have felt love before and it is a wonderful feeling. But since I lost my leg in 2011, I’ve felt more rejection than anything, especially from women. I would like to think being in love is more than not having a right lower leg. Did that little part of me control the love bug? I doubt it and have hopes of feeling that great passion that love brings to you. Until then, people enjoy that feeling. It is a great wonderful thing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000180290950 Bitty Ch

      It’s your situation that makes women look away, It is pity they feel and not rejection. Everyone has a handicap, you know. Whether it be too stupid, too fat, too socially awkward or whatever. Don’t have the defeated attitude. You don’t want that pity. Embrace what you have, who you are and your experiences. Smile. Or else the only thing that stays on their minds is your missing leg.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=534778359 Paul Poling

        I don’t understand what you are saying. I’m not defeated. If I was defeated, I wouldn’t do anything. It’s other people’s problem, not mine. I feel good about things and hope that others would too.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000180290950 Bitty Ch

          READ “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Nietzsche to understand.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=534778359 Paul Poling

            Life is life. You don’t have to analyze everything.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670986056 Sarah May Bates

      Paul you sound like an amazing human – and based on that I think you will find the girl worthy of you. It’s someone very special, and there’s only one of her, so it might take a bit longer. I believe that. :) Thanks for your comment xox Sarah

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=534778359 Paul Poling

        Thanks Sarah. I was depressed when it first happened and it is hard to describe the loss of a limb. But I found that once you get over the shock, you go on. Your kind words are very sweet and I appreciate your words. Love can come at anytime. who knows what will happen.

        God Bless,

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=722884710 Michael Lee Elmendorf

    There are too many true words above.

    Maybe it is best to just go to a movie, with a happy ending. Or see Romeo and Juliet 1968 or 1996 films (oh wait. that story didn’t turn out so well). Well, in Romeo and Juliet love is short-lived and fleeting. –like everything, [Good ole Bill Shakespeare, stealing Italian folklore and making it into a cliche -a very potent and timeless cliche] For me love is, always short-lived and fleeting. However, I did see that “older” couple -a couple weeks ago –possibly in their 90s holding hands (but maybe they just met on MatchDotCom?). Romeo and Juliet reminds me of the way love used to be, for me. But maybe never was, for me. One of my first girlfriends contacted me recently. She reminded me of a mistake I made. All these years I blamed her for something that happened. I then realized it was my teenage mistake, not hers. So, it wasn’t so Romeo and Juliet as I thought. I screwed up. (I am thinking about something that happened today at a record story that may or may not be relevant. I glanced at our Zooey’s She & Him Vol2. Then came to the “Ds,” near Death Cab for Cutie, I refused to even look, put my hands near their section, or listen to them because of our Zooey. Is that love? nah ha) Rather than, one my first girlfriends, to lie to me again regarding what happened, she reminded me what I did previous –to react the way she did. It wasn’t very Romeo & Juliet at all. If what I did, were in a movie, I would be the bad guy. She told me she was bitter over it even after she got married, and, yet I barely remembered. I broke up with her for another girl, then we got back together, for her to…. get back at me -not very Romeo and Juliet the 1968 movie or the 1996 movie. But, her and I were in deep teenage love, to the point of making others sick to see us together. It was fleeting (she was in disbelief I kept some of the love letters she gave me) and confusing?

    Love: I used to put parentheses around “love.” But, when you look into someone’s eyes deeply, and the world melts away around, to see nothing else, to see into what seems infinity, the universe and pure love, you know it exists, and, no words spoken or written can begin to define -not even for Shakespeare or Hello Giggles

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000180290950 Bitty Ch

      Wow. You should have a column. It’s romantic yet realistic. I agree with you in some points, but I would’ve just said it was a chemical imbalance. Love is fleeting; You control how you feel in the situation. You think it’s love because you like how they make you feel about yourself. I wouldn’t be able to look at toilet blue eyes and think…'” Wow. I can see the whole universe in those eyes”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670986056 Sarah May Bates

      Michael! Such a journey in this comment. Well in my opinion, love is a word for depth, and at any stage in life you are only capable of understanding so much. I would say I have been in love many times, though when I look back I see how immature or irrational or in denial I was about the other person. But I would still call it love – but the love of a much younger self, one with a great much to learn about myself – and in turn, the person who would reward that self. But as we grow, so does our capacity to love. So to you I say, never look back – only look forward and walk bravely and honestly toward that which you want in life. Thanks for your comment!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002581598663 Hans Johan Svensson

    I sometimes find love to be a word missused. Sometimes it´s just a like with a huge L.
    As I´m unable to crawl into someones head and be that person I´ll have to count on my own feelings and what I may persieve. Wich may well be lying to myself.
    Not expecting to be lied to is a way to keep it going. Honest communication will help.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670986056 Sarah May Bates

      True dat, Hans. Wise words! Thanks for your comment!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1652421693 Amalia Pantazi

    Sarah, I haven’t read your column in a while- how did this happen? I’ve missed reading you!
    I think falling in love is mostly an illusion. Someone makes an impression on us and we believe we see something in them, something that we need. I understand it as a projection of our own needs and wishes and insecurities and particular circumstances. And once we decide that a person is our special someone because of what we see in them, we refuse to consider that they might not actually be as we perceive them; which is often the case, unfortunately. Sometimes, it doens’t matter, however. Sometimes we find we are already too invested in them and when we see their real, true self, we can not help but embrace and love it, too. It’s all tricks of the mind, really, but it’s also kind of beautiful.
    PS. Big life change for me: moved into my own place for the first time. I’m feeling very adult and very weird about this – excited, a little afraid, happy and sad, proud and insecure, all at the same time. Maybe it’s how new beginnings are supposed to be, or maybe I’m just a drama queen. Casually throwing in ideas, potentially, for a new article :)
    Have a great week! x

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670986056 Sarah May Bates

      HI Amalia!!!!! I know my work schedule is cray right now – literally been 18 hr days back to back to back to back to…
      Anyhoo, re: the illusion, I totally agree – but in a way it’s just about time. You invest the time you need to get to know someone, and then decide. If you don’t know them yet, you’re not in love yet. Just in love with the idea of them. But regardless, if you’re working on yourself and taking care of yourself, you will end up where you need to be. HA! You are hilarious. I like how subtle you are. Can you elaborate on what you’re looking to hear more about? I am so excited for you and your new place btw. It’s definitely going to be a growth spurt for you – I can tell you that. :) xoxoox

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1652421693 Amalia Pantazi

        Dear Sarah, thank you for your wishes! :) It’s 1 am in Athens, I just got back from a drink with friends, I’m working tomorrow but who cares, right? I’m sitting on my desk, with my PJs and my make up still on, writing a goodbye letter to someone listening to Sivert Hoyem and eating strawberry yogurt with chocolate chips, because that’s what being 23 and living on your own is all about. Right? Right! i’m living the life!
        I’m not looking to read about anything specific. I’m not trying to manipulate you 😛 and I know it’s doesn’t work “on demand”. It’s just that everything you write is so relatable for me, and although I never met you, I feel that we are quite alike. I just thought I’d share what’s going on with me right now, in case that might inspire you in some way – this is usually how I get inspired. I will be happy to read anything you’ll feel like sharing! xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000105229716 Hannah Coloma Naci

    I entirely agree with what you wrote. It’s all about assessing one’s self and making sure that you acknowledge your current state.

    I really like this line “To truly love another person, you must first love yourself so that you can give of yourself with unfettered access.”

    This is very reflective.

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