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I think there are many ways to love, multiple ways to offer our hearts, and it’s up to each of us to discover the best way individually.  I know many people who believe that there is only one soul mate in this world for each of us and we will inevitably find them.  Some people knowingly or unknowingly refuse to love.  Others have made the decision on some level to love with their head instead of their heart, perhaps to protect their heart from future pain, while others don’t believe logic has any role in love.

I have never been one to love completely with my mind.  I always saw a huge gap, a dichotomy between head and heart.  I would follow my heart instinctively until my logic kicked in to tell me, “Whoa! What ARE you DOING?!” I imagine those I’ve encountered who love completely with their heads, who consider love a wagering game, have either been scarred or they were raised to be cautious. I guess it’s also possible that it’s biological or evolutionary too.  In my experience though, these types of lovers decided at some point that turning love into an act of weighing pros and cons would protect them from future heartache.  Many of them are non-compromising, stubborn, and controlling, all of which I see as byproducts of their fear.

I am guilty however of loving with only my heart. We, who love fearlessly, perhaps recklessly, pay no heed to our logical instincts.  We ride the wave of attraction, that undeniable initial spark.  In hindsight, I have allowed “love” to exist based solely and purely on physical attraction. I also saw my partners through a veil, a screen of idealization.  I morphed myself as much as I needed to in order to exist in harmony with them. To prove that the spark had somewhere to go, I changed my course to match theirs.  In some ways, this can be considered compromise.  But I’ve found that compromise changes quickly to sacrifice when it’s a one-way street.

Regardless, I’ve chosen to not allow my perspective now diminish the fact that at that moment I believed I knew love.  And I did.  Because at that moment it was all I was capable of and all I knew to accept. And now I’ve moved on, or beyond even.  Some carefree lovers will always be so.  It’s only when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing, the pain of the unknown, that they will begin to seek an alternative.  I’ve decided that there is no one right answer even for one person across their lifespan.  We change.  Love changes.

Let’s say two people fall in love.  They are soul mates and immediately start and maintain a relationship for years.  They get married, have kids, and buy a house only to reach a point where their love is no longer present.  Seems inevitable, doesn’t it?  It did to me, for a long time.

But does that mean the love they had was never there? Or that it is gone forever? I don’t believe so. Isn’t it also possible that their love has been left untended or that it has changed and they have failed to change with it?  That they’re still harkening back nostalgically to some love they believe they lost and can’t have again??

I think the most common misconception of love comes from the Beatles: All You Need is Love.  While it’s a good sentiment, many of us have adopted the mantra too literally.  A relationship cannot be sustained with love, as it exists by itself in a single or multiple moments.  Love changes.  It grows, it expands. So we must change – with it or against it.  It’s our choice.  Love starts as a spark and it’s up to the two soul mates to continue feeding the fire.  (Note, I said TWO soul mates, not just one.  It’s a joint venture!)

I have come to believe that we have many soul mates and that they come in different forms, just as love is never the same. I see each of my former long-term beaus as temporary soul mates.  Yes, not all soul mates last forever and it’s hard to decide to walk away.  But all love lasts forever. Perhaps the love we had changed in a way that moves us away from romance. Some soul mates come into our lives for a short period of time to teach us something important.  And when we’ve learned all we can from them, our path diverges from theirs. 

I still believe that everything happens for a reason.  While I may be resistant to a certain situation at the time, I always see it as a blessing in disguise at some point down the road.

It isn’t easy, but I believe that endings (and new beginnings) should be accepted as a time for change, a time for growth. Regardless of how we love, I wholehearted believe the most important part is that we DO love.  Or we at least try.  Again and again.  Rather than letting heartache turn us cold and bitter.  I truly believe that if we all approached more things, people, and scenarios in our life with love (and not resistance), we may all be a little more at ease.

So…how do YOU love?

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