The Courage to Love

“Give more love. Make more love. Write love letters on paper and give them to others as keepsakes. Do the things that work for you, that lift you, that dare you to go deeper than you think you can and give more than you think you’ve got to give. Make your love bright and pure and full.”     -- Otiti Jasmine

Love is a risky thing. You have to be who you are, be vulnerable, and drop your armor. There’s the chance you’ll get hurt, get left, or have to leave. You’ll probably have to make some hard decisions and feel some discomfort. Anything can happen.

Get it? Anything can happen.

Love grows you, fills you up with joy, and makes you feel on top of the world. But even though it feels so good, it’s not always easy because we place obstacles in our path: What will people think? Are we being too vulnerable? Is it gauche to show how deeply and passionately we feel our love? What if our love’s not enough?

You can’t control how the world reacts to your love. You can’t tell other people how to feel and why they should feel that way. You can’t protect yourself from getting hurt and give your heart at the same time. People will do what they want to do, clients will choose who they want to work with, and coercion won’t keep anyone around for long.

When you love for real, you act from a place of power. Instead of focusing on what the job, project, or person can give you, you focus on your own generosity while staying open to receive it if it comes back to you. You pour your love into what you do and who you are because that’s the truth of your being, the gift of your heart, the wind beneath your wings. You love because you choose to be a conduit for love and generosity, a state of grace that lets you be your brightest self without waiting for validation from anyone else.

Love is power because you’re driven by something deeper than money, prestige, or applause. You’re driven by the desire to beam more light into the world, to be a beacon for your right people and your tribe, and to give all you’re here to give in a way that feels good to you. If you’re pushing, forcing, or pulling, chances are you’re acting from fear, not love.

The courage to love is the courage to let your heart lead the way, to infuse your emotional intelligence in the way you do business and make important decisions. It’s discovering how to show up with a heart brimming with love and how to keep your heart open even when things happen to make you want to close it. It’s staying vulnerable even when it’s easier to put your walls back up and your armor back on. The courage to love, quite simply, is daring yourself to stay loving even when it’s easier not to.

To be clear, being loving isn’t being a doormat. If you’re in a toxic situation and there’s no way to change it, the loving thing to do is withdraw or move on so you don’t fill your heart with the negativity. This means having the courage to end abusive relationships, release bad habits that poison your being, and shelve business offerings that don’t feel true or loving to you anymore.

When you love, you tap into all that’s good and uplifting about you. You become a better person because you’re kinder, more gracious, and more generous to yourself and the world around you. You release grasping in favor of giving, and you realize there’s more than enough for you and everyone else, so you don’t have to fight so hard to be loved. Feeling you have to fight for love is giving in to the fear that you’re not enough (you are), and is only a waste of your time and energy. Accepting that you’re enough as you are and you don’t have to hustle for love calls on the courage to love yourself as you are without needing or seeking validation from anyone.

Grounding yourself in self-love means you make better decisions, give with an open heart, and plant seeds of love in all that you do. A solid foundation of self-love lets you build your empire without being crippled by fear, self-doubt, and criticism, even when you make mistakes and take some hits.

In her beautiful book Madly in Love with ME, Christine Arylo defines self-love as “the unconditional love and respect that you have for yourself that is so deep, so solid, so unwavering that you choose only situations and relationships − including the one you have with yourself – that only reflect that same unconditional love and respect.”

The courage to love begins with the courage to love yourself as you are, to accept yourself as you are, to like who you are in spite of whatever bad habits or weaknesses your inner critic points out. If you loathe yourself, that toxic energy’s going to bleed into everything you do and repel the very things you desire for yourself. If you love yourself, that beautiful energy’s going to infuse everything you do with a magnetic warmth that draws your tribe and dream clients closer to you.

The courage to love calls forth the Goddess within you, the energy of the Divine Feminine dripping with love, empathy, and kindness. Everybody’s going through something, and love for love’s sake heals more wounds and soothes more hearts than you may realize. The people you touch may or may not tell you how you make them feel, so be prepared to do what you do without getting clapped on the back for it.

When you have the courage to love, you have the courage to live a brighter, more intense version of life. It may not unfold exactly how you want it to, but loving for real will always be worth it. It’ll always be an expansive, immersive experience that leaves you in better condition than you were before. And even when you end up parting ways with who or what you love, you’ll carry forward the lessons you’ve learned and the growth they sparked.

What will it take for you to love yourself and beam more light into the world?

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash