It has become a truism that to receive love we must give love. This reciprocal action keeps the flow of love alive. Without it love would stagnate. Learning to give runs contrary to some very deep conditioning that we all carry around inside, however.
We have all learned to hold on to a good thing. Letting go of anything precious is hard. Loving people have taught themselves that holding on is possessiveness. Anyone who has ever been trapped in a possessive relationship knows its smothering effect. It isnít love when another person cannot give you the space to live your own life.
Giving space isnít simple. You must be willing to allow another person their whole being. You must give permission for someone elses ideas, feelings, reactions, and will to be expressed freely. People who have taught themselves to give on all levels have discovered a critical ingredient of living their love stories.
Goodness is a quality of being. Once we have made this discovery, we stop measuring people by their achievements. We expect goodness as part of their essence, and of ours. When this happens, we no longer expect a reward for doing good. We no longer bestow love when people are good to us and withdraw it when they are bad.
Instead love becomes a constant in our lives. It just is. People who have reached this stage are in true possession of their love stories.
You will never feel better about yourself by making others look worse. Engaging in the habit of criticism only postpones the day when your own secret judgments come to light. Bringing to light whatever you think is wrong about yourself is the only way to diffuse guilt and shame.
In reality there is nothing wrong with you or anyone else; this is what the voice of love truly says. Inner growth consists of learning to hear this voice and heed it, a process essential to living your own love story.
Adapted from The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1997).