We talk a lot about love. Love is all you need, love is all around, love is the meaning of everything, loving everyone selflessly is the ultimate goal. Why, then, is it so fucking hard to lead with love?
It’s hard because leading with love is intensely open and vulnerable. It requires us to let go of judgment, blame, and ego. When we truly love without condition, everything else must fall away.
I certainly don’t love without condition, and I can freely admit that. I’m not mad at myself for this, and you shouldn’t be either. Pretty sure I don’t know a single person who honestly gives love in this way. If you can simply learn to observe what keeps you from doing so – usually the working of your ego – that’s huge. To begin the journey towards loving more honestly, we have to see and own our habits, our pitfalls, and our fears.
Our egos tell us that we cannot forgive someone’s mistakes and simply love them – they wronged us or they were to blame for something, and dammit, they need to recognize that and atone for it! They tell us that if we accept someone for exactly who they are, even if they can’t do the same for us, we are weak. Love is about giving with no expectation of receiving, but we can’t often get to a place of such altruism. It sounds great on paper – not so easy in real life. That’s why there’s a plethora of writings on the subject.
I am not saying you take abusive treatment in the name of love – that’s absolutely unacceptable. Part of leading with love is first finding a deep love for yourself, and when you deeply love yourself, you learn to walk away from those who mean you actual harm. I’m saying that loving fully and vulnerably involves the willingness to look at yourself and where your fears and ego keep you small. What are you clinging to so tightly when the loving thing – for both yourself and others – would be to release? Where have you hidden your truth in the fear that you are too much for those around you, and how can you love yourself enough to let them walk away if that’s so?
Love is just an exchange of energy, and fear is a blockage of energy. Think of it this way – fear is the root of all problems, and love is the answer to all problems. In a perfect world, we would approach everything from an openhearted place. Everyone would get along and there’d be world peace. We obviously don’t live in that universe – and working on leading with love in our reality is an act of exquisite courage, because it’s so rare.
Learning to come from a place of unconditional love is lifelong work. It’s easy to fall backwards, to let others bring you down, or to stray from your path when you feel afraid and vulnerable. Here’s the harsh truth – you will be misunderstood. Others may view your approach as a threat simply because it isn’t familiar.
Perhaps hardest of all – most of the time, you will not be met with equal love in return. So many of us are terrified of vulnerability and the threat of ensuing pain. And this, this is why leading with love is deep soul work – you will often have to do it first. And you will often not be rewarded in kind. You have to be okay with that and keep your heart open and loving regardless. That. Is. Incredibly. Difficult. Work.
I know this is a lot. My ego gets in the way of my leading with love on a near-constant basis, but I now recognize the obstacles within me. Self-awareness is the first step towards change. I am working on it, and I want to learn to release the ego and the fear and lean into love, hard. Let’s work on it together. Help me help you on our journey towards open hearts.
Little by little, every day. Gentle gentle. You got this. I love you.