Category Archives: love

What’s love got to do with it?

When you love someone you care about their happiness and well-being. When they are struggling, you feel empathy and want to help. When they are sad or hurting you want to help them feel better. When you love someone you care. Codependency is taking responsibility for the other person’s happiness. When they are struggling you feel required to make it better. When they are sad or hurt, it is your fault if they don’t feel better. Codependency is when you know that is going on with them and put their emotions above your own.

Love has nothing to do with making someone’s emotions your own. It is difficult enough to manage your own emotions and keep them in check. Trying to add someone else’s is like trying to empty a lake with a bucket. You may be able to make a small difference, but not enough to really matter.

The best thing you can do for someone else is hold space for them while they have their own emotions. You create a situation in which they are allowed to feel what they are feeling without judgment. This at times means putting aside your frustrations with their emotions. It does not mean trying to fix the emotions or make things better. Just being present while they move through them on their own.

Love is not about making someone happy. While it would be amazing if we all had magic wands and we could fix things with a wave, or if we had happy buttons that could be pushed, we don’t. That just isn’t the case. It isn’t easy to be present for someone that is hurt, and just let them hurt. That is what you do for someone that you love though. You can’t fix it, but you can be there. Love is just being there.

Redefining Love

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

Love is opening your heart to another person and trusting they won’t stomp all over your hurts and fears with cruelty and their own pain. The longer you live the more bruises your heart accumulates and the more protections you create. When we create more and more protections we keep not only the things that will bruise us out, but the things that are kind and loving as well. We put walls and cages around our heart, isolating it from everything and everyone. It becomes very lonely.

If we want to feel connected with others, if we want to be present with the beauty of the world, we have to be open to it. That means letting go of some of the walls, and creating healthy boundaries. Instead of steel reinforced concrete walls, brick walls with doors that we can open.

There is risk with an open heart. We see more of the pain of the world, and we sometimes misjudge and let people in that aren’t save and don’t deserve access. We also see the greatness and the beauty of the world and find the people who’s hearts shine with love and beauty.

Love isn’t about worth. There is not one person on this planet that is unworthy of love, and I say that knowing that there are some truly horrible people out there. There are some people that aren’t safe to open our hearts to, and at the same time every one is deserving of love. That includes you. It is up to you to be safe enough to be let in to someone’s heart and to believe in yourself enough to be vulnerable. Love will find you when you drop the barriers that you have created against love; loving yourself and others, and letting others love you.


When is enough, enough?

Life is about balance, and this includes relationships. Knowing when to fight, when to back down, and when to retreat doesn’t come written down in a handbook. There are very few situations where there is a black and white, wrong or write answer. They do exist, they are just far and few between. Knowing when to move away from a relationship is not easy.  When do I let go of personal needs, wishes wants and would-likes and help my loved one, even if it causes me pain or problems? When do I walk away, admitting that my loved on is an anchor around my neck that is drowning me? These are questions to which there are few easy answers.

We will all struggle with something throughout our lives. Any time two or more people get together the struggles of one will affect the other. Many of these struggles will come and go, and some of them will be life-long struggles. Because we are social creatures we want to be with others and have their support and sponsorship as we move though struggles. We often turn to each other for validation and help. We all balance giving support when asked, and setting boundaries to make sure our needs are taken care of. In general giving this validation feels good as we help partners, friends and loved ones move through difficulties. When the support begins to weigh on us, or requires that we sacrifice our own identity, that is when the decisions get more difficult.

We enter in to relationships with someone that we love and care about, thinking that we can handle anything that comes our way. Then life happens. Accidents, illness, mental health, job loss and addiction are just some of the things that can change a partner or create difficulty in the home. When we signed on with our partners we signed on to be supportive and sponsors through thick and thin. We didn’t sign on to bail at the first sign of trouble. We also didn’t sign on to sacrifice our identity, our values and needs, or even our health and safety.

A situation in which you are in physical danger, especially in which you feel as though your life or the life of your children is in danger is a black and white situation in which you need to leave. There are safety plans available online that will help with packing lists and exit plans to keep you safe. It is often a struggle to leave a partner in times of abuse because we often know why they are doing what they are doing. We know their pain and their struggles. We know their insecurities that lead to their actions. Their pain, insecurities and struggles never excuse or OK physical assault or rape. A situation in which you or your children are in danger is not one to stay in.

A situation that is a little less black or white is when addiction is involved. You wouldn’t bail on your partner struggling with cancer, and like cancer, addiction is a disease. At the same time drug and alcohol addiction creates strong personality changes in partners and can lead to emotional, physical and financial burdens. It can tax families to the limit, especially children. In addiction people lose a part of themselves. A part that can be regained, but in the interim the actions of the addict can destroy a family. They key is the willingness of the addict to get help. An addict can’t be a good anything but a good addict. They can’t be a good parent, a good employee, or a good friend. The addiction is a monkey on their back that takes over and demands to be fed at all costs. Only you can decide if the price is too much. The danger aspect applies here as well. If you are in physical danger, you must protect yourself. If your partner is wild and aggressive when they are using but great when they are sober, you still need to leave. When you signed on with your partner you agreed to help them, and a strong supportive partner can make the difference between sobriety and addiction. It all goes back to your partner’s willingness to get help. If they won’t get help, it doesn’t matter how supportive you are, they won’t change.

If you are ever asked to give up a big part of who you are for another partner or a relationship, it probably isn’t a healthy relationship. Now, if you are asked to give up your drug use, or your unhealthy habits, that is different. But if you are asked to give up your identity, if you are asked to suppress your wants, wishes and would-likes long term, the relationship probably isn’t healthy. There are some situations in which the relationship is so amazing in other ways that it doesn’t matter that you have to forgo or let go a part of your identity. It should be pretty darn amazing and have a lot of perks in other places to compensate for the requirement of suppressing who you are. Only you can decide if the relationship is worth losing part of who you are. It is rarely worth losing a core part of you, such as your spirituality, your sense of humor, your sensuality / sexuality or your body image. If you are OK with your body, but your partner wants it to be different (bigger breasts, better abs, better bottom, etc) then it is a good indication that your partner likes you for your body and not who you are. If you are the right person for them, and you are confident in your body, then your boobs shouldn’t matter.  I personally would not give up my cat that I’ve had for 16 years for a relationship. She is important to me and a part of my identity. Again, only you can decide what part of you is worth sacrificing for someone else. And again, there had better be some darn good compensation for that sacrifice. In most cases, being asked to suppress or sacrifice who you are for your partner or your relationship means you aren’t with the right partner.

Illnesses and accidents throw curve balls at the person that goes through them. They also throw off the friends and partners. I’ve worked with clients that have partners that have had motorcycle accidents with traumatic brain injuries, degenerative diseases, even depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. When we marry we make a vow: In sickness and health. What happens when your partner gets in an accident that changes their personality, and they are no longer the person that you fell in love with? This happens in cases of brain injuries. It can also happen after a tragedy or when people are in great amounts of physical pain. There are resources for those with partners that are no longer able to take care of their basic needs that can help caregivers feel less overwhelmed. There are also support groups, both online and in person that help with feeling less alone. In most cases the partners and caregivers I work with stay with their partner. There are times though, in which leaving is a viable choice. If you are in danger, you are allowed to leave. If your partner has become someone that expects you to manage or tolerate behavior such as drug use or cheating, you are allowed to leave.

People that have been through abuse as a child can struggle to trust and bond as adults. This struggle affects loved ones because no matter how hard they try it can feel as though their love will never be enough.   It can be a challenge living with someone that wants to feel close but has barriers and boundaries that have been put in place before you ever met them to keep them emotionally safe. Childhood trauma often includes betrayals by people that were supposed to protect them and they had to learn to live with that in order to survive. This can include keeping themselves from trusting.  Being able to feel connected can be difficult. Because of the betrayals as children people with childhood traumas can be very sensitive to the possibility of betrayal as an adult, and this can lead to defensiveness in partnerships. This defensiveness can make partners feel very distanced and alone. They best way to be able to stay in such a relationship is to remember that their self-esteem and identity is not yours to fix. You are allowed to set boundaries with them, kindly, even if it hurts their feelings. You are allowed to take care of your own wishes, wants and would-likes. If ever you are not allowed to it isn’t a healthy place to be.

Relationships are hard work. They require patience, and understanding when your partner isn’t at their best. Relationships aren’t about bolting at the first sign of trouble. They also aren’t about losing who you are and sacrificing your identity to keep your partner happy or to keep the relationship happy. The lines between the hard work of making your relationship go and losing yourself are blurry. There are rarely easy answers. If you feel as though you are losing yourself the first thing to do is talk to your partner, without criticism, contempt or blaming. Talk to them about your wishes, wants and would-likes. Work with your partner to find a way to get your needs met as well.  If it is unsafe for you to do so because of violence, or your partner just blatantly couldn’t give a rat’s ass about you or your needs it’s probably time to go. Remember, you never have to make the decision by yourself. Talk to a counselor about your needs, talk about your fears, and talk about how to get your needs met in a healthy way.

Letting go of attack and defend

In relationships we have an investment to have our partners see us as loveable. We all have a fear of being left, and it is reasonable to believe that if our partners don’t see us as loveable they may leave. When our partners come at us with the revelation that they don’t see us as awesome, fear rears its ugly head and our first instinct is to want to defend ourselves. In this moment, the moment our partners come at us with criticism either constructive or not, we feel attacked and possibly fearful of being left. When we start to defend we start a cycle. Our partner feels as though they have to defend their position, get their concerns heard and possibly get their needs met. We start to listen to each other only in as much as we are getting ready to defend ourselves. We perfect the “Yes, but….” We have now hit the attack / defend cycle. If you fast-forward a year, or 10, we don’t even have to have to hear our partner’s criticism, we just defend or attack.

One way to step out of attack and defend lies on the shoulders of the person feeling attacked. When our partner comes at us we have an instinct to defend ourselves. Instead of turning back to defend, admit to yourself or to your partner, or both, that you feel attacked. And then ask for more information. That step is counter-intuitive to everyone that has ever been in a fight. To a lot of people it seems like getting punched in the fact and asking for a second punch. Imagine you are the one with the point to make, and imagine your partner asking you to give them more information about what you mean. Or asking why it is important to you. Or asking you how you felt. Would the next statement be another punch? Or would you feel validated and maybe be able to explain why your point of view is so important to you?

Another way to step out of attack and defend lies on the shoulders of the person that wants to get their point across. Learn to step in with a gentle approach. Avoid criticism or contempt for the other person, and work to avoid blaming. I think by now everyone has learned what an “I statement” is. Avoid anything that starts with “you”, and identify what your feelings are, and what your needs are. “I’m frustrated and I would like more help with the dishes”. “I’m feeling very unappreciated lately, and I would like….” Notice how these statements are very different from “you never help me with the dishes” (criticism) or “You don’t see anything I do” (blaming).

The steps for both sides include being able to identify your feelings in the moment. At times this is the most difficult part, as what most people are able to easily identify is angry. “I’m angry”. What else are you feeling? Abandoned, afraid, defensive, confused, betrayed, unloved, un-loveable, criticized, and hurt are common feelings during fights, all leading to anger. When you are able to identify what you are feeling, after taking a second to soothe the feeling yourself, the next step is to identify what you wants are.

Fights are a dance with two people trying to lead. If we can back down and be more gentle in our approach when asking for something to change, and if we can take a second when feeling attacked and try to dig deeper to get a better understanding of our partner the dance changes. It becomes less volatile and less hurtful to both partners. It becomes more validating and each person walks away less angry, less hurt, and less betrayed.  When we can change the dance we will feel closer to our partners and safer in our relationships, with greater intimacy.

Why are you doing this to me?

Why are you doing this to me?

In any kind of relationship we are going to step on each other’s toes. Friendships, business partnerships, romantic, and family; It doesn’t matter the kind of relationship. When two or more people get together they are going to have different ideas, values and goals that are going to clash.

Think of your place of work. What are your goals when it comes to your job? Often they are to find value in what you do, feel accomplished at the end of the day, and make some money in the process.  Are these your companie’s goals? At times your company is going to make decisions in an effort to reach their goals that are going to affect you in ways that you may not appreciate, from implementing a new policy all the way up to a reduction in force that terminates your job. The company is not doing this to you personally, they aren’t doing this to you, their actions just happen to affect you.

The same thing happen at home in closer relationships. Being able to learn the find distinction between something that our partner or friend is doing intentionally to us, and something that they are doing for themselves that happens to affect us, is important. It will change our reactions to the situation and will give us an ability to communicate our wants wishes and would likes more coherently.


The other night my husband and I had a disagreement. Because of the disagreement he went to the office for 4 hours, and astutely ignored me. It did not feel good to be ignored for 4 hours. It felt lonely and punishing. The energy in the house was tense and thick. Luckily I knew that he wasn’t ignoring me to punish me or to hurt me, he was taking space and time to calm himself down and soothe his anger and frustration with the situation. This made it much easier to be able to take time and manage my own hurt, anger and frustration with the situation (by baking cookies). If the belief had gone the other way, if I had taken his actions as a personal attack against me, the evening could have gone a very different way, with anger, resentment and escalation.


Our partners will take actions that affect us. These can be as benign as going to the gym instead of making it home in time for dinner, or deciding to go back to school to advance their career, to being lost in addiction.  There are times that our partners are doing something specifically to hurt us through spite and anger. It does happen. Just as often, if not more often our partners are just trying to take care of themselves in a way that steps on our toes, even if they way they are trying to take care of themselves is unhealthy and does some extensive damage.


When we find the distinction between “they’re doing this to me”, and “they’re doing this for them and it affects me”, then we have choices to make. Then we have to figure out what we need to do to take care of ourselves.   The first thing to do is to identify to yourself how your partners actions are affecting you by identifying the emotions surrounding their actions.  For example, being able to identify the feelings of hurt, betrayal, dismay, fear, etc will allow you to start to put a container around your emotions.  You will be able to say to yourself “I’m feeling afraid and angry right now” without necessarily blaming or acting on them.  Next you can start working to soothe the feelings by either finding something to do that you enjoy, or alternative self talk.  “I know I’m feeling really frustrated and scared, and I know that I will be OK.  I know that he/she is isn’t trying to make me feel angry and scared on purpose.”  Then you can ask yourself if there is anything that can helped by communicating these feelings to your friend or partner.  If you tell them you are really scared and frustrated, will they be able to change what they are doing, or even just confirm that their actions are affecting you even if the actions can’t be changed.  Often that confirmation, that recognition that their actions are having consequences elsewhere is comforting, even if they are unable to stop what they are doing.  Finally, in extreme cases such as drug use and sexual infidelity, which is not about you but about the other person taking care of themselves in unhealthy ways, you have to decide if you are able to stay in the relationship.  The dynamic of the decision when you have a full understanding that their actions aren’t personal, even when you have to protect yourself from the consequences of their actions, changes how you feel.

I’m not doing this to you, I’m doing this for me.  In most relationships, especially when they are overall healthy,  partners aren’t spitefully trying to make each other hurt, angry, scared, or feel abandoned or betrayed.  If you are with a person that does such things, then there is a completely different conversation to be had.  If they are taking care of themselves however, and how they take care of themselves is affecting you, move through the above steps.  Let go of the personal aspect, which will help you think more clearly, and take care of yourself without acting spitefully toward them.  It will help you be more at peace with your friends and partners, and more at peace with yourself.

Finding Love

Love is such a difficult concept. What does it mean to love someone? What does it mean to be loved? Does it mean sacrifice? Does it mean losing yourself to their needs and wants? If they love you does it mean they lose themselves to you?

I often find people with the belief that love is filling. Love is about filling each other and being filled. There is a belief that love is about taking away the emptiness. This ends up being a trap. This kind of love is about taking from someone to fill holes, and love is never about taking.

The base of love is about caring enough about someone that you want them to be the best them they can be. That means sometimes watching them struggle to learn their own lessons and walk difficult paths. Even when those paths push us in directions we don’t want to go.

This can feel very empty as we watch our partner struggle through a difficulty that we can’t help with. It can feel even worse when they struggle through a difficulty that takes them away from us, even if only temporarily. Love is about wanting to help your loved one as they walk their own path, and learning to fill the emptiness in your heart through your own compassion and care.

We have a desire to be loved by others as part of a survival instinct. We are pack animals meant to live in groups, and living in groups requires caring about the people we live with, loving them. We are now so removed from each other. We live in small family groups and only come together to worship, work, and sometimes play. It seems as we move further and further from having strong community groups we start to rely on our partners, children and friends more and more to feel loved and loveable.

Love is about supporting each other as we work to find that place in ourselves that we believe is loveable. When we let go of the belief that love is about feeling filled then we can start down a path of kindness, support and intimacy that lead to strong relationships and belief in ourselves and our own ability to be loveable.

Making “I love you” a meditation

I how often do you say “I love you”? How often do you say it to your partner, to your kids, to your parents? I love you can be one of those phrases that is uttered in a thoughtless moment as you rush out the door, or drop the kids off at school. It can be said in a moment of passion, but still said thoughtlessly, without intent.

Meditation is letting yourself be present, focused and intentional about what you are doing. It doesn’t have to be a 30 minute long session of intense breathing and focus, it can the little moments in the day. Meditation can be looking at the beautiful sunset in front of you, taking a breath and being present in with the sunset until traffic moves along. Meditation can be taking a breath and being present with the love you feel for the person you are with before saying the words.

There are words that have lost their meaning over time. I’m sorry is one of them. I’m sorry seems to have come to mean; “It sucks that you feel bad” as opposed to “I regret what I have done”.   What has “I love you” come to mean in your life? Is it the thing you say as you walk out the door or hang up the phone because you’re supposed to, but don’t really feel it? Or is it the way of maintaining a connection with someone you truly care about. If the words have lost their meaning, and you are just staying it to say it but don’t feel it anymore, then there is a bigger problem. If it is the way of maintaining the connection then make sure to be present with the connection.

Each time you say “I love you” take a breath. Find the place inside of you that truly loves that person and be present with it, even for just the space of that breath. Send the energy of that love and that connection through your words. This is more than reminding your loved on that you love them, it is reminding yourself that you love them, and being present with that love and that connection.

Imagine a household that does this with every I love you. You would know that every time you are told you are loved, it is meant deeply and truly. Even when things aren’t going well, they are words you can access to remember that you love them, and they love you. It takes the struggle out of the argument and hopefully brings it in to perspective. It allows you to take a step back for a moment, and instead of thinking “If you really loved me you would…” and be able to say “You really love me, and I don’t like what you are doing.”

Make each “I love you” a meditation, every day. Feel that connection every day. Remember you have true love, feel true love and true connection and be present with it every day. After a month, see what this does to your relationship, your intimacy and even your fights. Meditation is about being present with, and what a wonderful thing to be present with.

Moving through ebb and flow

People that rely on the ocean and on rivers know the concept of ebb and flow very intimately. They understand not only the movement of the tides, but that the rains that supply the water to the rivers move through periods of ebbing and flowing. Right now many parts of the country have been in a relative ebb of water and many parts of the country are suffering a drought.

There are other areas of life that aren’t as obvious that also move through ebbs and flows. Our relationships are a perfect example. There are times when our relationships are flowing strongly. We feel connected to our partners or friends, and this connection feels very filling. During these times we think how strong our relationship is and we feel that all is right with the world.

The other side of this is the ebb. In the natural movement of things there will be times when our relationships don’t feel as connected. We snip at each other more, we don’t feel as in sync. During these times we can feel very lonely and isolated. There is often an automatic feeling of abandonment and fear of losing the person completely. This can lead us to doing rash things, either to prevent the perceived loss or to retaliate against the future betrayal that we fear is coming. These actions can take us from ebb, a natural occurrence, in to something larger.

Ebbs often come with distress. When we don’t get enough rain our crops suffer. When things aren’t going well at our job we fear losing the job. When things aren’t going well in our relationship we fear losing the relationship.   Being able to tolerate the distress that comes with the natural ebbs in your life will help you flow more smoothly in general.

The easiest way to tell the difference between ebb and a real problem is that ebbs don’t last. If you’ve left work for the last 9 months feeling drained, unfulfilled and frustrated this probably isn’t ebb. There is no flow to counterbalance it. If you spend the majority of time in your relationship walking on eggshells, arguing, snipping or hurt and it has been this way for a while then you probably aren’t in ebb. Again, there is no flow to counterbalance it. Ebb and flow are like the tides; they move back and forth with a semblance of balance with each other, and in general things should feel relatively good

The key to tolerating ebb is to stay grounded with yourself, your identity and your strengths. It is natural to start worrying that you are doing something wrong creating a problem. Always do a self-check to see if there is something you are doing or aren’t doing that could be causing difficulties. We personally go through ebb and flow as well, and on ebb days (bad days) we can sometimes act poorly to those we care about causing problems. If in general you are overall being healthy in your job or relationship, remember this. This means that you are probably in ebb. Stay centered with the fact that you are where you need to be in your thoughts and actions. Remind yourself that you are OK, that the relationship is overall OK, and that life is in general OK. Use this as a buoy to keep you afloat when anxiety and fear start to set in.

There are small changes to make during ebbs. Pay attention to your frustration level and make sure you are soothing when you want to snipe. Make sure you continue to do your work at your job, make sure you continue to be tender and loving to your partner, possibly even more so to remind yourself that this ebb is temporary. As stated above, many parts of the country are in ebb in relationship to water, and people are not changing their habits at all. This is creating additional distress for the environment. If we don’t give a little and be a little more tolerant during ebbs we can create increased distress and actual problems.

Learning to tolerate the ebbs in your life is about learning to sooth your heart when it is afraid. We like stability and ebbs don’t represent stability to us, especially for those that have been through trauma or betrayal before. In these cases we are hyper-alert to problems and ebbs are large red-flags to our systems. Being able to tolerate the mild distress of an ebb will help you trust more, and feel even more connected to your job or partner when times are good. Knowing that the ebbs are natural and the feelings of disconnectedness are temporary will help you feel more connected comfortable in your relationships because you know a flow is coming soon.

We just can’t communicate!

I always find it funny when a couple comes to me with the complaint that they can’t communicate. I have them talk about their relationship and the difficulties they have, and as I get an understanding of the problem I find that they communicate just fine. They probably over communicate. In fact, there is nothing but communication, each person talking and talking, yelling or screaming their point over and over again. Communication isn’t the problem. Not feeling validated is the problem. Neither person feels listened to or validated.


In every relationship there is going to be a time where there is a point of contention. There will be something that each party has their own opinion on and doesn’t necessarily agree with the other person. Dr. David Snarch calls this place gridlock. Each party has an opinion, want or desire, and all they really want is to hear from the other person that they are right, ok, and valid. When each person has an opinion, want or desire that is diametrically opposed to the other parties, they are in gridlock. This is generally when communication breaks down. This is when each party is going to feel the need to tell the other person why their opinion, want or desire is right or important. This is when the discussion breaks down, because as party A works to express why they are right or valid and party B works to do the same, each party feels invalidated, as though the other person doesn’t care about them or love them.


During these times it is actually important to turn a little inward. It is important to be in touch with what you are feeling and what you are wanting. Most of the time the couples I see are lost in the small details of the fight when what they are fighting about is something bigger; the feelings and wants that have been festered and grown for a while. Most of the time when I am playing referee for a difficulty, I am working to help each person in the fight interpret the frustration that lies underneath. When she is complaining that he never does the dishes, it isn’t about the dishes it is about feeling like he isn’t invested in taking care of the house and by extension the relationship. When he gets in a fight over not being able to go to dinner where he wants, it is often a bigger frustration of feeling like his wants and needs are ignored.

These are two valid frustrations that aren’t being discussed because the person themselves isn’t aware of them. They just know that they don’t like it when the other person won’t do the dishes, or doesn’t let them eat where they want. If I don’t know what my real frustration, want or fear is, then how is my partner expected to know?


We are responsible for knowing our own feelings and wants. If we keep fighting over the same things, then we aren’t having trouble communicating, we are having trouble being honest with ourselves about what our frustrations wants and fears are.   When we are honest with ourselves, in touch with ourselves, then we can have honest discussions with our partners. We can also figure out if the problem is something our partner even has control over or is willing to change. That is another discussion though.

The final piece of the puzzle is being able to soothe and manage when our partner doesn’t unconditionally tell us that we are right. Just because I have a want, frustration or fear, my partner isn’t required to fix it for me. If my partner, for whatever reason, isn’t willing or able to help with my want, frustration or fear I have to figure out how to take care of me in a healthy way. In the above scenarios, the partner isn’t required to jump off the couch every time the dishes need to be done just because she wants him to participate in taking care of the house. She isn’t required to go to the restaurant he wants. We are all required to negotiate and shift a little bit in relationships, and if the person we are with can’t or won’t, then we have to figure out what we need to take care of us.

Relationships are independent people working to live together in harmony. Good communication doesn’t mean the other person is going to tell you you’re right, especially when you don’t even know for sure what you want them to hear. When we figure out what we want, and then make sure that we’re going to be OK even if our partner doesn’t jump up and down to tell us that we are right, then we have good communication

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

Love is opening your heart to another person and trusting they won’t stomp all over your hurts and fears with cruelty and their own pain. The longer you live the more bruises your heart accumulates and the more protections you create. When we create more and more protections we keep not only the things that will bruise us out, but the things that are kind and loving as well. We put walls and cages around our heart, isolating it from everything and everyone. It becomes very lonely.

If we want to feel connected with others, if we want to be present with the beauty of the world, we have to be open to it. That means letting go of some of the walls, and creating healthy boundaries. Instead of steel reinforced concrete walls, brick walls with doors that we can open.

There is risk with an open heart. We see more of the pain of the world, and we sometimes misjudge and let people in that aren’t save and don’t deserve access. We also see the greatness and the beauty of the world and find the people who’s hearts shine with love and beauty.

Love isn’t about worth. There is not one person on this planet that is unworthy of love, and I say that knowing that there are some truly horrible people out there. There are some people that aren’t safe to open our hearts to, and at the same time every one is deserving of love. That includes you. It is up to you to be safe enough to be let in to someone’s heart and to believe in yourself enough to be vulnerable. Love will find you when you drop the barriers that you have created against love; loving yourself and others, and letting others love you.