There are many definitions of love and I’ve always been drawn to the idea that love is active, complex, and always evolving. Something bigger than us, a true force of nature that we can’t quite put a definition around. What I know for sure is that love is not easy. It’s not a constant state of roses and rainbows. Love follows the intricacies of life and shows up differently to serve us in ways we don’t even know we need.
Sometimes love is encouraging and comforting. Sometimes it takes the form of a challenge, loving nudge, or difficult conversation. This idea of love is what we founded our vision for The Restoration Project on. “A world that is caring enough to accept what is, and courageous enough to chase what could be.”
When we listen to our heart and gut, it leads us back to love…back to truth. Many of us resist true love because it’s too hard or too scary. We refuse to accept a particular circumstance, make excuses, and avoid things. We spend a lot of our energy and life running away or keeping walls up to protect ourselves. It’s easier to play victim and blame others. It’s easier to stay small and avoid big feelings. In all of these scenarios we are robbing ourself and others of love.
When we can learn to face tough situations and emotions and embrace difficult people, we find out what true love is. It takes preparation, practice, and intentionality. When we learn to accept what is, we find there is no shortage of love. It is everywhere and in everything. Even in the darkest of times, love shows up. In that space of acceptance we shift our energy from resistance to positive forward movement with our lives and with others.
In other cases we avoid true love because we are afraid of what could be. We are afraid to experience the fullness of life. If I open up, what is going to happen? If I go for it, how long until it all falls apart? Our limiting beliefs around love hold us back. Love is not scarce and it will not run out. It may take a different form, but it will be there.
I see so many people living within the safety of a small box. They are too afraid to open their heart for fear of getting hurt or losing control. Cultural pressures encourage us to conform and stay small. It kills the wild, audacious, and pure love right out of us. It takes courage to put yourself out there. It is a brave thing to show up and love someone or try something new and risk what might happen. That’s true love, and Lord knows we need love in the world right now.
We need people willing to show up with open hearts and open minds, to dream big dreams, to show love and care for others no matter what they believe or what they’ve done. When you start to live this way you realize that love is everywhere. It has no end. There is no shortage.
Something doesn’t go your way, that’s OK because there are other paths. Someone hurts you, that’s OK because they are hurting and you hurt people too sometimes. You are caring enough to accept what is, and courageous enough to chase what could be. You confront each situations with curiosity and compassion. You honor yourself and the other person. You forgive and move on when needed, and do the hard thing or have the difficult conversation when called to. Then you move forward with love and hope, and when you do, love and hope expand.
This is an internal shift. An empowered posture. Possible for you with practice.
This is leadership. This is love.