Love has been on my mind lately. I spent some time reflecting on it and here are my conclusions:
Motherly Love: I love my kids from the depth of my soul. That doesn't mean I always LIKE them. Two of them are teenagers and they are often rude and sarcastic. Their attitudes, on occasion, are garbage. But there are times when I hear them being amazing to each other when no one is watching. Or encouraging their younger brother. This makes my heart absolutely burst! Overall, I'm very proud of the young men that I'm raising.
Romantic Love: Having a wonderful man in my life is something I am still getting used to. Having been in an unhealthy marriage most of my adult life, I never knew what it was like to have a real partner. Someone who truly cares for me during good times AND bad. Even when I am a cranky beast for no reason other than I woke up discontent or I haven't had coffee. He loves my boys and has formed a relationship with each of them on his own accord. He is an example to them of how a man should treat a woman. I am endlessly grateful for his presence in my life.
Friendship Love: Love as applied to friendship is a BIG one for me. My Tribe is small. Although I easily give love to many people, I am careful who I surround myself with. My close group of friends is oozing integrity. They will call me on my crap and not let me drown in self pity. We are on an equal playing field because we are on a continual path of growth. I know I can call them for any reason at any time and they know the same about me. I feel immense joy when they accomplish goals in their lives. This is what REAL friendship looks like.
Animal Love: Ahhhhh to love an animal!! I'm not sure I have words for this fella. He is the epitome of unconditional love. Adopted from a shelter almost two years ago, he is one of the greatest joys in my life. He's a senior and only has a few teeth. But he will protect me with his last ounce of strength. I love his sweet soul and his calming presence. Everyone should love an animal at some point in their life. It's free therapy!
Self-Love: Sooooo important but also the most difficult for a lot of people. I spent so many years of my life judging myself and everyone else, comparing myself to others and smiling regardless of how I felt on the inside. There was a lot of unraveling and removing layers to find my authentic self. I can honestly say that I love myself now. Not in an arrogant, self-centered way, but knowing that I am walking through life honestly and with integrity. I treat others with kindness and walk away from situations that don't serve me. I walk my talk. I wouldn't ask anything of others that I wasn't able to do myself. I try to stay in gratitude and humility. I am the same person publicly and privately so everyone gets the same Shannan. A vast difference from my previous life when I was anything anyone needed me to be (people pleaser to the core). I'm grateful every day for the growth in my life.
So those are my current findings on love. Life isn't always sunshine and lollipops, but we all have the ability to access the love that is at the core of who we are. That quiet space inside of us that is perfect peace and pure love. Take the time to peel back your layers and access the authentic YOU. I promise you the journey is worth it. There's a treasure inside all of us :)