Love: It's Big

My first love was Andy. With his red yarn hair and overalls, being the better half of a rag-doll pair, such was my love that 'Andy' became one of my first words. What happened to Ann is a bit of a mystery. The other mystery being why my parents at the time let me drink a lot of iced tea. I've seen the baby book and 'tea' was one of my other first words.

But it was the 70s. Feeding your kids iced tea was OK back then and being in love with a rag doll was alright as well.

Young love is an amazing thing. It's passionate and all-consuming. I would call it infatuation, in fact. But it certainly feels worthy of a much stronger word. Anyone who has had their heart broken in two knows exactly how strong young love is.

As my life progressed from age two to present day, I experienced much more love. Crushes, boyfriends, love of family and best friends. And as I changed, my definition of love changed.

Young love is about ourselves. We want so much to be accepted and secure. To be taken care of, to be assured that everything will be OK. Sometimes I am sure it was akin to looking in a mirror. Does this person reflect back to me all my beliefs and thoughts about this world, do they make me feel alright about myself?

But mature love is about something bigger. It's not small. It's not about making yourself feel better. It's not selfish or jealous or something that you can tether yourself to in the hope that maybe some day you'll be safe.

That old expression – if you love someone, set them free – rings true in many ways. If you want to truly love, you have to let go of everything. You can't trap love. When I let go of who I think I am and all my petty worries and when I realize that no matter what, I will be OK, it's then that I am prepared to love with all the reckless abandon I can find (in the back of cluttered closets is a good place to look if you're missing it). And I'm not just talking about romantic love, but being part of something bigger.

It's not easy. It's much easier to try to hold onto things that we think will make us happy and safe. But ironically, love is the big thing that allows us to let go of the small things.

This post is part of the Self-Discovery Word by Word series started by Ashley a year ago at Nourishing the Soul (Happy Birthday SDWW!!). I'm hosting October's word so please do think about participating. If you want to be part of it, read my kick-off post, post something on your blog and send me the link (ideally by October 28). If you don't have a blog, never fear, just send me your thoughts and I'll post them in the round-up on October 31.

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