Gentle Parenting: What is love?
By Tami Wyness
“I love you.” I used to say it to lovers, to friends, to family; but until I had a child of my own I can say that I didn’t actually know what that meant. And even now, I realise it’s an organically growing concept in my brain: but I have a few ideas of what it might be.
It might be something about respect. Respect for ourselves, the other and the thing that is love between us.
It might be something about creating a safe space to be; for ourselves and with the other.
It might be something about letting go and allowing the other to be who they are. And to create healthy boundaries for ourselves.
It might be something about after expressing an emotion like anger; saying “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you” (that one was taught to me by a dear friend of the practice of Ho’oponopono – an ancient Hawaiian practice of forgiveness and reconciliation).
It might be something about being joyful, laughing and being playful with the other; and ourselves. Creating happy memories to lay the foundation for a strong, long life together.
It might be something about strengthening the bond on a daily basis. And also something about not keeping count.
It might be something about listening with empathy; and practising compassion when we aren’t our best selves.
And maybe it’s something about understanding how we can become durable and resilient when that bond of love feels tenuous or lost. About knowing how to come back to our own centre.
It might be something about inviting community in to our heart space; for I don’t believe we love alone.
Maybe it’s something about just being; and feeling at peace. No words and nothing to be done.
Well, that’s all I know for now; for today, in this moment… and I only really know this through the relationship with others, and in particular with my daughter who is my greatest teacher at 18 months old.
The interesting thing is: The word ‘love’ isn’t really in her vocabulary yet and I wonder about her sense of it and what it feels like when we don’t have language to construct it in. I have a sense that it came pre-programmed in her; that it just ‘is’ in her world. I feel that it’s part of my responsibility as her mother to have it remain so. As I relearn it myself.
Tags: gentle parenting