There are probably lots of people in your life you say you love: parents, cousins, siblings, children, friends, and neighbors. If we think about our community, we might feel close and loving toward many people. But if you look closely, they don’t all feel the same.
Our Perception of Love is Shaped By How We’ve Experienced It
We may have been very loved by a parent, and use that as the standard we go by. If we felt completely loved by someone, then we know how it feels. And if our heart has been widened and filled by someone, and it could be anyone, we still know what love feels like inside us.
So let’s say you are in a relationship and you are waiting to feel all filled up in your heart. You remember that feeling you had from Grandma or another relative that made you feel special, like the most important person to them and they loved you unconditionally. These experiences are golden in our memory. They become the standard of how we want to feel love when there is love to be felt.
Love Comes in Different Flavors
So now think about your current relationship. Does your heart fill to the brim like it did when you remember Grandma? Or is it different?
The most I ever remember feeling loved was from my younger brother. I felt so important to him. I felt like he knew me from the inside out and that he loved every part of me. That doesn’t mean we never fought—in fact we were very good at fighting, until we grew up. Once we did, we just shared a mutual feeling of well-being and acceptance for each other, and that felt the best.
Love Can Be Forever
I lost my brother 18 years ago, but the way I felt from his love for me will always stay with me. It shaped me. It pushed my heart open so wide. I am happy in my relationship today. I know I am loved and I love my mate.
And even though I love my husband with my whole heart and I know he loves me with his, I still feel a little unused room inside my heart that belonged to my brother.
One Person’s Love Never Quite Replaces Another’s
No one can ever replace another person. It’s not possible because we are all so unique. But I realize today how love can feel differently depending on the person we are sharing the feeling with. No one will be my brother or replace our special bond.
And yet in my life I am fully loved. Fully loved, and different.
Feel the Love…and Understand It Too!
Read a Book About How You and Your Partner Can Keep Each Other Feeling Loved
Can’t make it on Monday? Learn more about how to lovingly communicate with your spouse by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It has tips that will help you connect and show your appreciation for one another. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.