Bless Tina Turner for asking the iconic question, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” That song from 1984 is more than just a throwback to my youth. “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” is a clarion call to pay attention to the very origins of love.
Love, after all, is biblical, beginning with the story of Adam and Eve. The first couple help us to understand that love is essential to our survival.
As a storytelling coach, I work with women of diverse ages and backgrounds to help them share meaningful life experiences for themselves and loved ones. Doing so allows them to reflect on who they are and where they want to be, along with imbuing them with a greater sense of purpose and optimism. The power of love comes up a lot!
British statesman and novelist Benjamin Disraeli was right. “We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its only end.”
I’ve seen love wither and die for myself and my clients, and I’ve seen how transformative it is when love blooms again, often in more nuanced, deeper ways.
From the iconic Greek myth of Eros and Psyche to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Leonard Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, love is the brightest star. And who could forget the final scene in Casablanca, when Humphrey Bogart leans close to Ingrid Bergman and says, “We’ll always have Paris.” That line gets me every time, as does Etta James’ love anthem At Last. The Beatles affirmed love as the ultimate force when they released All You Need Is Love in 1967.
Love changes over time … and thank goodness for that. If only I could reach an arm around my younger self and comfort the woman who too often confused love with sex and fleeting romance.
Realizing on a deeper level that love blooms over time would have done wonders for my self-esteem.
"When we let go of our ego-self, the self that is defined by the external world, we allow ourselves to fall in love with our true self," says Patricia Walker, a Deepak Chopra–certified life coach based in Boston. “This love is compassionate, peaceful and accepting, and is what allows us to love fully in our relationships and our lives.”
Love, today, is telling my 21-year-old daughter Rebecca “you got this” every time she doubts herself.
Love, today, is seeing the wonderful young man her twin brother, Casey, has become, and how he never ends a conversation without saying, “I love you, Mom.” This from the kid who stormed and stomped his way through adolescence.
Love, today, is the memory of family and friends crowding my husband’s hospice room as Brett lay dying in 2004. Together we chanted “let go, let go, let go” as he took his last breath at 39 years old, the father of young twins. It was the most powerful, loving gift.
Love, today, is recognizing that while I couldn’t change the trajectory of Brett’s long illness or death, I found the strength to make a seismic shift from Manhattan to Denver so that my children and I could have a different, easier life.
Love, today, almost always involves trust and acceptance. I learned this lesson when I married my second husband, Steve. I was captivated by the way he had lovingly cared for his wife, who also died of cancer and how, he, too, was raising two kids on his own. Both of us were navigating a new normal, trying to honor the past while also making room for the present. Saying “I do” to Steve affirmed two things: that I was worthy of love again, and that I loved him enough to risk someday losing him.
I’m sure glad I took the risk because Steve and I are coming up on our 15th wedding anniversary this summer.
“Love is powerful and beautiful and yet it can’t conquer all, unless there is a solid foundation to go with it,” says Denver therapist Ranette Waldman. “When we commit to knowing ourselves deeply, love can be freed up to be in its most powerful state. This allows us to operate from love, and not fear, and is how love prevails.”
Ready to fall in love with yourself all over again? Or someone else? Here are three prompts to jump-start your quest.
- Complete the prompt “Love is…” Without hesitation or self-censorship, simply free write what love is to you. Try to think about love using all your senses.
- What is your favorite love story? The film Sleepless in Seattle? Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice? Or something more personal, like how your grandpa courted your grandma for four years before she finally said yes. Maybe your story has nothing to do with romantic love — perhaps it’s about holding your newborn child.
- When it comes to love, what do you regret, and why? Has regret kept you stuck in your life, or led you forward in some way?
Searching for love in my younger years sometimes led me astray. What I know to be true about love today is that it exists in the most minute of places. It’s ever-present. We just need to see it. And seize it.
Complete this prompt in the comments below. "Love is......"