There have been times in my life where I’ve shut myself down to others. The deafening pounding in your chest when you feel hope for something transcendent followed by the pain of rejection can be hard to cope with in a romantic relationship, but even in platonic or familial relationships, if you’ve been hurt a lot in your life it can be hard to give and receive love or even just loving acts.
One of my favourite films of all time is the short film, The Butterfly Circus. It features the legendary Nick Vujicic as a fictional character who is discovered by a circus ringmaster at a traveling freak show. The Butterfly Circus ring master shows him compassion but Nick’s character is so damaged he spits on him. It’s true that when your pain is too deep, you can’t help but lash out. However, thanks to the unconditional love by the members of the Butterfly Circus, Nick’s character softens and finds that he is not only worthy of love but capable of amazing feats of daring.
In real life, Nick spends his days sharing his story and his vision for humanity with people all over the world. He may have no legs, and no arms, but he has the biggest heart for lifting people up and helping them to see their inner-beauty and potential. You could say Nick has made a career out of love.
So understand that when I talk about making love, I’m not talking about sex. Sex definitely does not equal love. If you get to have great sex with a loving partner you feel safe with, then awesome for you! However, what I’m talking about is the opening yourself up to love of all kinds. It could just start with hugging someone, acknowledging someone, being kind, being thoughtful, being vulnerable, holding someone’s gaze, sending a loving text, listening or putting your phone away during a conversation.
These things are easy. It’s the opening yourself to the possibility that they won’t be reciprocated that is hard. But you can’t have one without risking the other. Without opening ourselves to love we can’t be vulnerable and if we can’t be vulnerable we can’t identify with others and show empathy. I believe opening yourself to love is worth the risk. Do you?
What can you do today to be more loving? Write it down and share your experiences with me on Facebook. Remember, it could just be as simple as giving someone a hug.