This article first appeared in mindbodygreen.com and is written by Margaret Paul
Did you know that some languages have many words for love — each one a different permeation of the many facets of love? For example, Sanskrit has 96 words for love. Ancient Persian has 80.
Sadly, English has only one word, which greatly limits our understanding of what love is and what it isn’t.
Love is that which supports the highest good in you and in others. Love recognizes that whatever truly serves one serves all, and what does not serve one serves no one.
Love creates unity, not divisiveness, and never pits one person against the other. When love is our guiding light, we practice choosing compassion and caring rather than fear.
These words characterize all that love is.
When we let fear rather than love govern our choices, we try to control love in order to avoid pain. In the moments when trying to feel safe from fear is more important than being loving with ourselves and others, we behave in ways that have nothing to do with love.
When we refuse to accept love as our guiding light, we are not fulfilling our potential. These words characterize all that love is not.
When we are guided by love, we do not behave in ways that cause feelings of shame for ourselves or others. Loving actions do not lead to secrecy or hiding. Rather, loving actions are those that we can announce to the world without guilt or shame.
When we are loving, we are not sarcastic or shaming under the guise of joking.
We are not competitive, except when the competition is friendly and for the benefit of all.
We are not passive. We take caring action for the good of ourselves and others.
We do not sit by and watch abuse, hoping someone else will attend to it.
The feeling of love is not generated within our own body. Rather, it is a gift of Spirit that enters our heart when our heart is open to learning and loving — and learning about loving.
We cannot feel love in our heart when our heart is closed. We feel love when we open up to learning with our higher selves about what it truly means to love ourselves and others.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author, relationship expert & Inner Bonding® facilitator.