“Everything we do in life is either an act of love or a call to love.”
These are words spoken at a yoga class I took a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about them since. What does it mean to love? Can we love too much or too little? Is there a wrong way to love?
So often, we are told how we should love: help others, do random acts of kindness, show people you care for them. When it comes to relationships, we are warned against loving people “too much”, against putting too much energy into a person. But what does that even mean? Why is caring considered a bad thing in one instance and a good thing in another?
That is why the quote I began with has been such a source of reflection for me. If everything we do is either done out of love or with the intent to love, then no action we take is separate from love itself.
Therefore, there is no such thing as loving too much, because everything we do is, indirectly or directly, related to love.
I think at times we are advised to guard our hearts in the fear of what could go wrong, in the fear of pain. But Alfred Lord Tennyson once said, “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” While this may not relate to the subject of loving “too much”, it does relate to what holds us back from loving with our full heart: in essence, fear of failure and loss. These are not to be feared, but embraced as a part of life.
I propose we look at love a different way. With the mindset that everything we do is somehow related to love, then feeling as if you are giving “too much” or “too little” is simply a trigger to reaffirm and re-intend your commitment to living a life of love.
While it may not be possible to love “too much”, perhaps it is possible to invest excessive energy into one person or situation.
If we spend our time doing so much we find ourselves drained at the end of the day or caring for a loved one, this may be a sign to pause and think about where your actions of love are going.
For me, that stereotypical idea that we are loving “too much” is simply a sign that our energy should be shifted elsewhere, to a different act of love.
For some, this might mean giving more love to themselves. It is so easy to get caught up in helping others that we forget to take care of ourselves. However, if we are not attentive to our own body, mind, and spirit, how can we love that of another? I have always been such an advocate of self love and care because it is something that is often missing from my life.
For others, this reinvestment of energy may mean taking on a new project or passion, or something that brings joy, and in turn, love, into your day to day life.
It should be noted that the feeling of loving “too much” is all relative and varies from person to person. Some may be able to engage in more external actions of love, and others may need more time to do these things. But when we decide to live our life with the intent to love, the amount we do will never be what matters.
Instead, this life devoted to love will be one full of quality interactions with ourselves and others.
I find it so beautiful and reassuring to think about the fact that even the mistakes I have made, every time I seem to mess up, that all of this was still somehow linked to love. When I think about life in this way, it is easier for me to forgive both myself and others for our actions. We are all on this journey together, whether we know it or not. It is time we remember that.
To end with another quote, from a Course in Miracles:
Love. What would you have me do? Where would you have me go? What would you have me say, and to whom?