Expressing Love in a World of Need

What do you mean when you say you love someone?” When I’m expressing love, I assume my expressions are understood the same way I do. That’s because I assume everyone understands the expressions of love in the same way – I do. We all know what love looks like – we all know it when we experience it – right?

Defining Love

Could love have multiple meanings depending upon the frame of mind of the one expressing or perceiving it? The word has more synonyms than any other.

The ancient Greeks sought to resolve the confusion by parsing love into many types to fit specific cases:

  • Sexual passion.
  • Platonic friendship.
  • Playful love.
  • Universal respect.
  • Long-term friendship.
  • Love of the self.

Even when broken down into specific types, there can be many more. For example:

  • Manipulative affection.
  • Spiritual acknowledgement.
  • Condescending superiority.
  • Aspirational or worshipful adulation.

Most of the above listed items are based on my wants and needs. That is, “I love” means “I want or need” something outside myself. This even when I say I love myself.

Expressing Love As Defense

Because I believe love separates with specialness, I use love to defend my perception of my universe as I perceive it. Thus making me special and separate from all I perceive as not me. In my bubble of limited awareness, “I love you” defends my belief in you separate from me.

When I ask, “Why?” of an “I love you” statement, I might hear “becauses” that defend the statement. Those defenses illustrate my misunderstandings about myself. Thus, when I say, “I love you,” I’m expressing my needs and feelings about myself. And I may expect reciprocation, “I love you, too.” Because I seek love from outside me, it validates my belief in separation of me and not me.

Instead of knocking myself out trying to find love, I might accept the truth of it – all is love. Not specific to any aspect of all, like a specific person, concept, or situation – ALL. Why? Because it’s all me – I’m the one perceiving my life and experiences. So, love must be an expression of me to me.

What do I mean when I say to you, “I love you?”

Am I saying, “I love you” in order to gain your favor? To appease you? Maybe because I feel guilty? What kind of love is that, then?

Ultimately, I define love in terms of emotions I feel in the moment I express it. My expression exposes my private feelings about ME in that moment. Thus, perhaps love is not so much about what I say, or how I say it. Maybe it’s about WHY I say it.

Imagine what might happen to your expressions of love when you feel gratitude for your world. When you recognize everything and everyone in your perception as your creation. When you accept accountability for your perception. Wow!

How might I express love from my perception of “me” to “not me” when WOW is its foundation?

Imagine something about which you feel “wow” inside. Something that evokes a feeling in you of amazed wonder and awe. Hold that image in your mind – maybe even magnify the feeling of it. Then immediately go to someone you care about, look them in the eye, maybe touch them. Don’t speak – just look and touch for a few seconds – long enough to feel significant.

Then say, “I love you.” Practice in the mirror. Awaken love!

 

Looking at Love Through Need Fulfillment

Why do people once in love end up despising each other? What happens when, “I love you” means “I need something from you?”

Sometimes I view love as a state of being. Other times I view it as something I do. And still other times I view it as a commodity I can buy, sell, or otherwise control. When viewed as a commodity, as in property, I may invest in love’s representations.

Love as Trade

For example, if my lover represents love as a commodity to me, I’ll view them as an asset. Thus, I’ll expect something of value from them to satisfy my investment in them. More to the point, the value they can give me to fill the lack I perceive in myself. I then invest in that commodity that seems at least equal to the value I receive from it.

This has not changed since ancient times. We still believe love is need fulfillment. No matter what morals we place on it, the concept is purely amoral. That is, I feel love when I feel satisfied.

Who expresses a sense of feeling loved when they are in dire straights? Love is conditional! Those who claim unconditional love are probably wanting something from you. Sounds like a harsh worldview? Maybe – and it’s a great description of my bubble of limited awareness in which I perceive competition and defense.

Gestures, symbols, and expressions will remain tools of trade until we understand love has no value.

Love and the Need to Be Special

Why do some people do horrific things in the name of love? Even when they have “everything” – wealth, respect, social acceptance. In some cases, it’s because they need to feel special to someone.

Love as a Weapon

When someone draws a weapon, they use it to their advantage to satisfy their needs. Basically, I use weapons for two reasons: to benefit me and threaten or defeat others in my need fulfillment.

Once I engage a weapon, most options disappear. For example, consider some ways I have used love to get what I needed:

  • Evoke emotion
  • Force cooperation
  • Intimidate others into agreement
  • Obligating others

An interesting aside – when I remove options from others, I also remove them from myself.

Because I NEED love, I’m acknowledging that I’m NOT experiencing it. Further, I may not be able to experience love because I need it. Yet, because I need it, I will do whatever it takes to get love.

Whatever I feel I need controls me. This can get complicated when I realize that I’ve defined love in terms of need. This turns the wonder of love into another master I must serve. Because I perceive love as a fearful master, I must serve love in fear. Thus, I must negotiate with my master to get love.

Symbolic Gestures and My Intention to Be Whole

There are as many symbolic gestures to represent love as there are imaginative ways to express it. Yet, love is not an expression. Rather, love is what we hope those we express it to understand. Love is within the intention we seek to convey.

It all comes back to my initial intention to be whole. All relationships represent this theme of becoming whole. When that intention turns into a need that MUST be fulfilled, I may view love in terms of lack. This can result in a relationship in which each feels they need the other to complete them. Thus, confirming the belief in lack.

To the drowning man, any floating thing will appear as the answer to his problem. From the perspective of desperation, love can only mean need fulfillment. Even though love may appear as the answer, in limited awareness, it can only indicate need.

Relationship Between Compulsion, Want, And Need

In my limited awareness, I experience compulsion as needs. Compulsions increase in number and intensity when I think my environment controls me. As I take control of myself, I experience fewer needs. Need and conscious awakening seem to have an inverse relationship: the more awake I am, the less I experience need. Inversely, the more need I experience, the less awakened I am.

Let’s look at the need-less experience of a lucid dream as an example. In that consciousness, awareness of dream and dreamer while asleep gives me complete awake control. This because I’ve taken awake control of thoughts and emotions that generate the dream. I experience few if any needs in lucid dreams because I have full awake command of my dreaming self.

In awake consciousness, it seems I have many needs. From air to food to shelter, it appears I must depend upon my environment for survival. That dependence on what I feel is outside me may be key to why I have needs.

Unlike wants, needs are more black-and-white. Needs feel 100% compelling while wants feel more desirable than compelling. For example, even though I may want to breathe, at a certain point desire will turn to need and I will be compelled to breathe. I have no choice – I must pay attention to it – I must act.

I’m also compelled to believe the need is compelling enough to justify the compulsion. Thus, needs justify compulsions that justify needs. They are dependent upon and so justify each other.

Need and Compulsion Represent Each Other

Compulsion is an urge – a concept – not a physical thing or a goal. Physical or not, need represents the compulsion concept. Accepting a need as literal compels me to feel dependent upon my environment and so feeds my compulsion.

Feeding a compulsion feeds an awareness of lack that I judge as need. To that end, I may surrender all that I am to satisfy my compulsion in hopes of satisfying a need.

The nature of compulsion leads me to consider using need in situations where I seek to satisfy a want. My thought is that if I were to consider a want as a need, I’ll work harder to achieve it. On the outside, that may seem like a workable solution.

There is a flaw in that logic, however. A focus on awareness of lack tends to build more awareness of lack. Thus, even when feeling compelled to act, the focus on lack will tend to lessen the ability to act. Need may, then, subtract emotional energy from the excitement of want.

Instead, to build energy towards achievement of a goal, want it! And let go of the need for it. The entire process of achievement is within – that’s want – rather than from without – that’s need.

You may then be in a position to consider how want, too, focuses attention on lack. What might happen when you release the need for wants? I wonder…

How I Communicate in Symbolic Metaphor

I presuppose that I always communicate. Some of that is overt communication – like auditory speech and body language. Some is covert – like hidden agendas and motives.

Living beings communicate in symbols that represent ideas. Those covert symbolic representations may not be shared or understood between any one or more communicators. Because of that miscommunication, misunderstanding is common.

Every form of life communicates. In its actions and very being, each is itself a symbolic representation – a metaphor. That metaphor communicates validation of existence. Conscious awareness acknowledges existence of one compared to another. For example, I acknowledge my existence in comparison to all that is not me. Thus, this determines benefit or threat to myself.

How We Communicate in Metaphor

Comparing and determining benefit or threat allows me to know how to interact with my environment.

In every metaphor there is an explicit story with an implicit meaning. Metaphor provides opportunity for alternative meanings, comprehension, and value. Like the dollar bill that has virtually no value in and of itself – it’s just a piece of paper! That is, until two or more agree on a value for it in trade. So, that’s a metaphor – the foundation of overt and covert communication.

Dollar bill: Overt – a piece of paper. Covert – its agreed upon value in trade. Thus, application of meaning turns explicit into implicit – through symbolism.

Let’s look at the instinct to live. Avoidance of ending life produces an emotion, fear, that motivates certain behaviors. Thus, an overt behavior connects to a covert emotion. One might look at the overt behavior and comprehend the connection – only IF they presuppose the metaphor.

In many cases, the connection between overt and covert uses the word, “because…” For example, “I raised my voice because… I felt threatened.” The raised voice is a metaphor for how I felt. You heard the raised voice in my overt communication. You might connect that overt communication with a covert emotion and thus, understand the symbolism.

My Expression Tool Kit

I have a tool kit for expressing myself. By observing my behavior, you can learn a lot about who I think I am. And how I see my world. Thus, my overt behavior expresses my inner covert beliefs.

From my senses to my good sense, those tools are symbolic expressions of my identity. That tool kit expresses overt behaviors based on a covert ability to:

  • Survive on instinct:
    • Breathe
    • Wake/Sleep
    • Seek, consume, and process nourishment, and eliminate waste
    • Seek shelter or safety, and avoid threats
    • Respond to stimuli
    • Communicate
    • Desire to defend my and others’ lives
    • Reproduce
    • Heal, grow, and adapt
    • Innate drive to seek pleasure and avoid pain
  • Experience through my senses, my thoughts, my feelings and my body .
  • Sense fairness, equality, inequality
  • Judge the difference between: right and wrong, justice and mercy, cruelty, kindness, and indifference.
  • Learn to live by rules, principles and laws – cooperate with others.
  • Think for myself, doubt, question, answer, and interact with my environment.
  • Apply beliefs, biases, prejudices, forgiveness, non-judgement.
  • Mimic and counter my environment.
  • Communicate through various mediums like, voice, body language, and etc.
  • Understand, teach, learn, inspire, confuse, deny, acknowledge, agree and disagree.
  • Interpret, assume, presuppose, take advantage, use, waste, exploit.
  • Compare, compete, cooperate.
  • Feel pain, pleasure, fear and other emotions.
  • Harm others and myself.
  • Practice the 7 deadly sins:
    • Lust
    • Gluttony
    • Greed
    • Sloth
    • Wrath
    • Envy
    • Pride
  • Pretend, role-play, fantasize, entertain and be entertained.
  • Connect with other kinds of communication which I can then share.
  • Trust my environment to sustain my body and mind.
  • Choose, defend, take apart, put together, build, destroy.
  • Resist, accept, innovate, support myself and my  environment.
  • Move, be still, explore, change, and create.
  • Dream and imagine.
  • Comprehend symbols, apply meaning, and assess values.

I can’t NOT do any of the above!

Conclusion

Thus – I cannot express in only overt OR covert. I communicate who I am using both. Communication requires an overt expression with a covert meaning. As I come to understand my own expressions, I can learn to understand those of others as metaphors of ME.

Therefore, what I perceive must be a metaphor for who I am.

My Personal War of Hidden Intentions

“My intentions were good!” How many times have I heard or said that? An action based on a good intention can seem to be the right thing to do at the time. Yet, an intention may give itself permission to act outside of conscious awareness. Thus, a hidden intention in a limited awareness bubble.

I’ve heard it said, “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.” Some of us take that idea seriously when inserting our own special kind of service to our world. Yet, an unsuspecting do-gooder can face disapproval or worse for their well-intentioned interference.

Sometimes, even when my heart is in the “right place” I end up hurting myself or someone else. Because my heart desires connections, I have to wonder why my intentions result in disconnection. Could I be unconsciously pitting one intention against another?

And So, the War Begins!

Perhaps I have a war raging between intentions. The intention to survive may view the intention to connect as a lower priority than personal safety, for example. Relationships present ambiguous threats to safety! This is a perfect environment for conflict – a war of intentions!

My intentions are always about problem-solving for the better. This is particularly confusing when the problem is my ambiguous intentions.

All too often, I have no idea how a hidden intention invaded my actions that hurt people. I trust that if I say I had good intentions, others will somehow give my hurtful behaviors a pass. I think I can escape accountability for my intended behavior by excusing it with “best intentions.” The real intention, then, was to protect myself from accountability for my unconscious actions.

Here are some questions I can ask myself to help reveal my conflicting intentions in personal relationships:

  • What am I feeling right now? What do I imagine others are feeling right now?
  • How does this difference in feelings present a conflict of intentions?
  • Why do I need to make others feel this way?
  • Who am I? Who would I rather be?

Stopping the War of hidden Intentions!

The default is ambiguity. Ambiguity allows my defensive self some latitude in its plausible deniability. That is, I can always fall back on, “I didn’t intend… blah, blah, blah!” and, “My intentions were good.”

Observing the reactions of others opens a window into my own hidden intentions. It’s not too late to ask a question. It doesn’t have to be painful, and it’s not a waste of time! Asking some useful questions can help clarify ambiguous intentions and maybe stop the war. Communicating clear intentions tends to clarify understandings in relationships.