Last week I told you about my experience saying “I love you” to someone who isn’t categorized as lover, family or friend. I likened Love to a pasta sauce (yes, I did!), and shared that we would explore the idea of expectations and Love this week. So, let’s do it!
Here’s the thing: when I said “I love you” to that person, I had no expectation of a return. If we go back to the pasta sauce for a moment, ask yourself these questions:
Do you expect anything in return from your pasta sauce? Do you expect it to do something for you, validating you in some way? Or do you simply enjoy it for all it is in the moment?
That’s what happens when we love openly and honestly from our heart: we enjoy it for all it is in the moment. Some call it “being in the flow” others refer to it as “being in the now” – more labels. It simply is.
When we hold expectations for a return of our sentiments – our love – we are actually in a space of not-loving. We are in fear, or lack. Our energies are tied up in wanting. We are offering our love from a place of need, rather than a place of integrity, and that’s never good. It’s a false love, a caged love, a love that is bound and tied before it ever has a chance to be felt and shared.
There are many examples of this, but one I saw recently was a mother talking to her child. I was in a store and she put parameters on her love, saying something like, “How will I know that you love me, if you don’t do this for me?”
A quid pro quo for love is not Love. It’s enslavement to someone else’s needs, fears, and insecurities. It’s love as a possession, which isn’t love.
Expecting an “I love you, too” in return for your “I love you” is no different. Hollywood has hit on this as it’s a common theme among rom-coms. We’ve all done it – I’ve done it! (Many times.) So, this post is not about being perfect, but about raising awareness. Awareness invites change.
I experienced this myself most recently with the story I’ve shared. I said “I love you” because I did. I do. There is nothing more to it than that. Being able to convey my Love without strings, expectations or attachments was a gift I gave to the other person, but more so it was a gift I gave myself. It was liberating and empowering… and fully aligned with who I am.
It was the BEST pasta sauce I’ve ever had.
P.S. For more on how to communicate love effectively in existing relationships, I highly recommend the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman (www.5lovelanguages.com)