I'm Done Falling in Love
Language can be perplexing sometimes, can't it? The way we speak of something that should be so beautiful, like love, includes words like "falling, burning, crushed, smitten..." How strange!
In today's episode, Tina looks at some of the words we use to talk about LOVE, and why language matters to our thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Find out why Tina says she is done "falling" in love, and what she has decided to do about it instead.
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I’m Done Falling In Love
I love language. Not at all does that mean I am some kind of linguistic expert. It’s more of an interest of mine. I think language matters. I think that what we say and how we say it matters… for those receiving our words. But for ourselves as well.
Whether we are really tapped into and aware of it or not, we are listening to ourselves. Our audible words and our thoughts. We create narratives within the language we use. And this often happens quite innocently.
Our choice of words lead us into patterns of thoughts, that we then reflect through the actions in our lives.
Let’s just look at the word “love”. Because really, love is all you need, right? I know that lie has been sold to us over the years. And I can tell you that it isn’t the truth. Love doesn’t conquer all. Love is not enough. And love does not heal all wounds.
Don’t believe me? Ask the mother or the father of a child they lost to addiction, if it was because they didn’t love them. Ask someone who loves someone suffering in mental illness if they could love them harder. Tell me that your loved one’s ill health is because you don’t love them enough.
If love was enough, if love could save people, there would be many many more people walking this earth with us right now. We did not lose them because love was enough, and there was just not enough love.
I have lost people in my life that I could not have loved more. If love could save them, they would be here.
Love is not enough. Love is not all we need.
And yet love still gets the focus. Which is quite right. Love is extremely important. As one of the needs people have. But in knowing that love hold such great crucial significance, we still speak of it in the oddest way, don’t we?
We use metaphors that we have come to accept, even as positive affirmations of feeling love, but they are so strange when you really look at them.
The most common metaphor we hear, is that of someone falling in love.
I don’t know about you, maybe not, but I am afraid of heights. And it really isn’t about being up so high, its about the possibility of falling that has me NOT A FAN. I don’t want to be up high in case I fall.
In all honesty though, I don’t want to fall of the couch. I don’t want to be planted with two feet on the ground and trip and FALL there either.
We talk about “falling in love” as if falling were something very special to happen to you. I, personally, try to avoid it. I can say though, I haven’t always been successful. I have fallen. And guess what…
It in fact, did not feel beautiful. Nor did it remind me of love in any way.
And yet, one of the most beautiful and most meaningful things that could ever happen to us apparently, is the FALL in love.
Like you were out for a walk one day and your eyes met with someone else’s, and you had a beautiful spark between you both and then boom, over the side of a cliff you went. You were out at a barbeque, when all of a sudden you were introduced to someone and bam, off on a trip with gravity, flat on your back there in the middle of the yard.
That it itself tells me love is not enough. If that’s the way it is, love and a set of wings, or love and a parachute… maybe that’s all you need?
Love is ridiculous and quite dangerous if this is how it works.
Falling to me, seems “out of control”. It seems non-consensual. I would never agree to a fall. Nor would I even want to plan for it.
And you can argue with me and say ya, but Tina that is how it works. It’s a feeling you can’t control. It just happens.
Ok, I’m still with you in that train of thought. But you know what other feeling could just happen? The feeling of wanting to punch someone in the throat. That could happen. I have experienced the feeling. I also realize that I can evoke that feeling from others.
I could take a guess that between my family at home, and my work family, there may be a lot of self-control happening around me within my environment… as I have not yet been punched in the throat lol.
You can feel something and not carry out the action.
Further to that too though, you can feel something and not label it with words that make it seem like such a negative experience. And that’s important if it’s not negative and we don’t want to be thinking or feeling like is. OR like it should feel negative.
We can’t be making love sound like it’s supposed to make you hurt and feel pain and like you’re losing your mind – and then turn around and ask ourselves why so many people are in unhealthy relationships.
Because while there can be difficult elements involved, we set a tone with our language, and we could be more specific.
What a mixed message we send…
“Love hurts. You feel the way you do because you have “fallen” in love. How Beautiful”.
And then we say:
“Love isn’t supposed to hurt. This is abuse. This isn’t love. You need to get out of this”.
Well, which is it? Does love to hurt? Or is it that love isn’t supposed to hurt?
And I know we can argue about this. Because it can be painful to love someone. It can hurt. But that is a very different kind of pain than an abusive relationship that hurts.
But do we all know that difference? Do we all know where that line is where difficult love crosses a boundary into abuse?
No, we don’t. Language could really matter in the messages we are sending and receiving.
Because we say that we “fall” in love. BUT we also use words like STRUCK, CRUSHED, CRAZY in love, BURNING with passion, we SWOON which is actually to faint. And this is because as the philosopher Nazareth taught us… Love hurts. Loves Scars. Love Wounds, and Marks.
And let us not forget one of my favorites – the word smitten, which is derived from the SMITE – to strike with a firm blow. In Old English, the word means to SMEAR or DEFILE.
That sounds lovely. It actually sounds like I might prefer to FALL in love.
However, if I do, I then have to realize that my heart is now at risk of feeling achy and breaky. A very real threat we were given due warning about by the great Billy Ray Cyrus.
The metaphors we so commonly use to equate with our experiences of loving love, often refer to violence, physical pain, and terrible accidents.
I don’t want to be a victim to love.
I want new words to explain my experience.
And I am not trying to change the world, or even the cultural contexts in which we speak. I’m just saying that when I have an experience of love, and I do every day, I want to be clear between my thoughts, feelings, and reactions, about what it is.
I don’t want to be crushed by love. I don’t want to be struck by love. I don’t want to burn in my passion. I don’t want to feel defiled or even achy breaky.
I’ll tell you what feels safe though. I’ll tell you what feels manageable - like I can handle it and I wouldn’t be asking too much for someone else to do it too…
I want to walk in love. And not just romantic love, but love in every sense of the word. But what does that look like? What am I wanting from this act? What am I hoping to gain and give as I walk in love?
A guarantee? To feel what I feel when I feel loved… and loving… and lovable… and to always feel it?
To see and show and know acts of kindness? Genuine actions that portray my best interest? The best interest of others?
Or maybe it’s partly about loving myself, with clear and healthy boundaries… so that I can love others in a clear and healthy intent.
Maybe it’s about respect. For myself. For the people I say I love. For their thoughts and feelings and goals and hopes and dreams and needs… and how they fit in with mine.
Perhaps it looks like and feels like being supportive and knowing you are supported too.
Or is it more about trust? And not even totally about being able to trust your partner, kids, friends, and family to never hurt you. But to know that you are able to tell them when they do. That it will be acknowledged and heard. And trusting yourself to handle all the hurt that may come. To survive it, and to heal from it.
Perhaps walking in love is more about providing space for people to grow. To accept where they are in life, knowing there is an explanation… even if that explanation isn’t an excuse. It’s about knowing how to love them in their pain and while keeping yourself healthy from taking it on as your own. And accepting the same from others in relation to you and your pain as well.
Could walking in love actually focus more on loving people in the way that they understand it, and asking that they do the same for you?
Or is it just being there for people when they it. And knowing who will be there for you when you need them?
I think the answer is YES. It all of it.
I think walking in love is knowing what we need and letting others know. It’s asking what others need from us and providing it.
It’s not 50/50. It’s just 100. It’s knowing that I may only have 30% to give today. But I have people in my life that will meet me with 70.
It’s knowing that they may only have 10% to give tomorrow. But they people in their lives, including me, can easily come up with 90 for them.
Love is saying YES. Love is saying NO.
And I know this list could go on and on with so many beautiful traits that we would see and feel and do, while walking in love.
We can add patience and compromise and encouragement and generosity.
There are so many things we could mention.
And if we were to keep going, with such an extensive list, would we have to rethink love not being enough?
If we were walking in all this, would it not be enough? What else is there?
What could you possibly be lacking?
Well, I don’t think it’s about what you’d be lacking. But it is a matter of understanding.
If you decide to walk in love… that’s awesome. That’s spectacular. It’s beautiful.
But it’s a decision you can only make, for you.
You’ll never be able to force anyone else to walk in love. And that’s actually part of you walking in love. Understanding that people have autonomy. Good or bad, they get to make their own decisions. They will choose how they live, and how they love or don’t love.
We can’t change that in people.
The good news is, they can’t change it in us either.
If we meet people who choose not to walk in love, they can’t do a thing to change our decision to walk in love.
Honestly, if language is not an issue for you, then I hope you get smitten. I hope you fall in love and burn with passion.
Otherwise, I hope you walk in love. With all the beautiful characteristics of what that looks like. I hope your life is filled with some special people who also walk in love, and you’re the recipient of so much goodness.
May your thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions align with LOVE. In the truest sense of the word.
Lots of love being sent your way. Until next time, good bye for now… and we’ll speak again soon.