Whole Life Magazine

February / March 2017

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/781893

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Page 14 of 43

"IN THE LAST MINUTES OF YOUR LIFE, IT WON'T MATTER WHAT YOU HAVE COLLECTED, WHERE YOU HAVE TRAVELLED, HOW MUCH YOU HAVE IN THE BANK. THE ONLY THING THAT WILL MATTER TO YOU IS WHO YOU LOVED AND WHO LOVED YOU BACK." —Wendy Strgar I f you have ever met me in person, it is likely that by the end of our conversation I may have said these words to you. I live my life by them and am convinced that the purpose of our lives is to learn how to love. And yet on the face of it, we of- ten are so consumed with the daily activities of earning our living, dealing with diffi culty, self-medicating our unnamed and unexpressed emotional in- juries that paying attention to our loving relationships ends up last on the list. This might be in part, because loving people is hard work, and often work for which we are unpre- pared both in experience and education. Put simply, we often don't recognize the opportu- nities for the applied practice that love demands. For many of us, our beliefs about how love works is ground- ed in our earliest pre-verbal education which enfolded and imprinted us as small children. It is not surprising that the most common misunderstandings about love refl ect the immaturity of that time. But there are ways to evolve your potential to both give and receive love by rooting out these common ways we childishly turn away from the people who love us. 1. We don't get to choose how we are loved. Recognizing the simple truth that love is not made-to-order is a huge step in growing up and developing the eyes to witness the love that is coming toward us. Maturing beyond our early ideas of what we thought love should look like allows you the gift of seeing how the people around you are actually loving you right now. For years I was unable to see the multitude of ways that my husband showed up and loved me because it did not look like my idea of love. Finally I wised up and realized that other people don't love us the way we want to be loved, or even often the way we ask to be loved. They love us the only way they know how to love us. It was then my marriage became viable in a way that it hadn't ever been before. 2. We prefer being right over being loving. Getting stuck on being right presumes that you can tell someone else how it is, get them to change their mind, and do it your way. Children spend hours at this fu- tile activity. When it is achieved, it is so damaging to the play relationships between them that they serve no one. Lov- ing someone is about trying to see it their way—growing up enough to want the other person's needs and desires to matter as much as your own. This is how love matures and becomes trustworthy. 3. We close down to being loved because we have been hurt. Emotional self-protection rarely achieves its goals. Closing off our hearts to those who try to love us shuts out our capacity for all kinds of emotional growth and keeps us frozen in time. Being willing to experience the growing pains that are natural consequences of getting better at love is how we grow into our best selves. 4. We believe we know how to love. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to this most essential life skill. Our family gives us our fi rst education in loving. Given the declining state of families, it is more common than not to have developed be- haviors that challenge future loving relationships. Even truly loving families pass down unresolved emotional issues that deserve maturing over generations. Humility and curiosity are essential character traits to fulfi lling your love evolution. Commit yourself to grow into your capacity for love. —Wendy Strgar, writer, teacher, and loveologist, is the founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, makers of Almost Naked 95%-organic lubricant. healthy living Growing Up in Love STRENGTHENING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS By Wendy Strgar SEX TALK february/march 2017 15

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