Wednesday, 10 October 2012

How do you know you love your kids?

I’ll let you into a secret.  I’ve been preoccupied with the word Love recently, and I’m being completely open here when I say (deep breath), I don’t know if I love my kids. *wince*
Now, before you judge me or my situation I want to ask you a question.  What is love?  What would your reply be?  Whatever it is I bet it’s not a fully formed idea and you’re having to fully engage  your grey matter right now.  And you see, this is my issue.  I don’t know what love is.  I can’t define it in my mind, so how can I state that I love someone/something if I don’t know what it actually means?  It would be like saying I understood electricity when I don’t.  I just use it with no thought as to how it came to me.  I’m an analytical and practical person and it’s important to me to really understand meanings, in a real life way, before I feel comfortable using them in conversation.
My worry is that I’m not a particularly loving person.  I’m not maternal, I’m impatient and don’t often feel warm and fuzzy inside – the state of being that I unconsciously believe shows you’re experiencing love.
I mentioned this preoccupation to a friend, and she admitted to thinking along the same lines, which has given birth to this particular blog post.  And yes, Anonomum’s going to attempt to rugby tackle the subject that can’t even be caught.
(I’m not talking about love between two lovers.  This I understand and have (thankfully) experienced.  It’s more about plutonic love towards your fellow man, or a love of a hobby etc.)
Where to start –my up bringing.  I’m the fourth child from a happy(ish) marriage.  I was told that I was loved.  I guess proof of this is that I had a stable home where I was always fed, cleaned and clothed.  It was far from perfect by my parents often put us first, and still do.   It’s what parents do, but that can’t constitute Love.  Surely you can do all this and not Love someone.
What do I know about my thoughts and feelings towards my twins ?:
·         I’ll always be there for them
·         I’ll feed, clothe and clean them for as long as they need
·         I’ll give them the best of everything I can
·         Their healthy development is my top priority
·         I can’t stand to see them upset/unhappy
·         I’m fascinated by them
I’m pretty sure that these are symptoms of Love, and it’s safe to say I do Love my kids, but the pop psychologist wants to take it apart and understand the workings of Love.  How do I know for sure it’s Love and not duty for example.
So I asked some close friends and was surprised and amazed by the different answers I received.  All brilliant, and all different. 
Friend A – said that Love was a positive action towards someone or something that comes specifically as a result of a warm/positive emotion about them.  This has been along the lines of what I have thought, which worries me because I’m not an emotional person.
Friend B (and my wise mum) – said that everything is a particular degree of love.  Passion, trust, laughter, excitement – All high degrees of love.   But also, inertia, jealousy and angst – all low degrees of love.  You can look at all emotions and feelings as on a vertical scale of the amount of love it contains.  Hate having the least Love I guess.  And therefore everything that is created out of these mental and emotional states also hold varying degrees of love.  This explanation really appeals to me because if true, it means that I do love my children, and helps me to feel that no matter what high or low I’m experiencing, it’s always involves love. 
Friend C – said that he loved people and things which activated both sides of his brain, that produced a synergy between left and right hemispheres– and therefore Love was a unifying force that sparked a feeling of wholeness or oneness.  This really appeals to my obsession in how the mind and body are related.  It brings Love to a physical and biochemical level, and provides a practical way of trying to explain the unexplainable.
M Scott Peck (Author of A Road Less Travelled) – says that love is the force that propels you to do something that helps another better their life in some way with no regard for receiving something in return.  It’s a force that builds up and prevents natures instinct towards inertia.
You know I’m no philosophical, scientific or spiritual expert but I am obsessed with these big questions of life, and I think all of these are true.  We hear from Greek philosophers and great sages that Love is all there is, that love unities (“one Love”) and we can all relate to some degree with our own thoughts and feelings about it. 
As I put my friends on the spot, it’s only fair that I do the same.  So here are my thoughts, after much brain cramping and staring into space.
Me – There are moments when I look at my twins and I melt at how beautiful, clever and resourceful they are.  I have little moments of bliss that dawn on me and I guess this is Love.  What I’ve noticed is that I’m blessed with these “bliss pockets” when I stand back and just observe.  It’s like my ego takes a coffee break and I’m left with that part of my soul that it always there in the background being quiet – that is always loving – and I only connect with it when I (my ego) stops getting on with the daily grind.  Being an avid meditator, I’m used to putting myself in this Observing state – but I’ve never made the connection before that these are the moments I feel love.  This would mean that I am a loving person, and I do love my kids (genuinely a relief) but that I’m only strongly connected to it when I stand back, take myself out of the situation and just be.  This state is like walking under a powerful waterfall where all my cares are washed away and I’m just receiving an unending powerful flow of peace, bliss and love.  It’s when I see the big picture and I don’t care how much food they’ve thrown on the floor, or that they’ve tried to climb the table lamp again.  The second I bring myself into the “real world” (and there’s a massive debate to be had with what constitutes the real world) I pick up all those annoyances again and those warm feelings are pushed to the backburner.
This a big-kipper-like slap in the face to STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF, and to take time to see my life in context.  To connect with the sane part of me that really loves my girls and start applying this lesson to other areas of my life too.  For those of the spiritual amongst you – it’s connecting to the source of ALL THAT IS and resting there regularly.  (For those unspiritual of you, erase that last sentence and replace with your own funny joke about farts).
Peace out.
I would genuinely love to hear your thoughts of Love and how you know that you Love something/someone.  It’s not easy to put into words, but give it a go.

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