THIS is a juicy question.
VERY VERY juicy.
Ask yourself this question right now - What happens in your body?
What do you feel inside your heart, your belly, your whole being?
What possibilities are you imagining?
For me, my body tingles. I feel warm juiciness flowing through. I feel my inner self take a pleasurable siggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
The key word in this question is HOW.
Not 'how much' - because that's a given (an infinite amount!) There is no limit to how much I love to be loved.
But howwwwww. In what ways do I love to be loved?
They are different for all of us. We all have different languages for love (if you haven't, look into the 5 Love Languages). We also have different preferences, interests, experiences, cultures and bodies.
We express and recognise love in ways that are unique to us.
And I believe, that when we aren't clear on the answer to this question, when we don't really understand our own unique selves in this way, then we are entering into partnerships with others from a place where we are already cloudy in terms of what would really light us up and fill our hearts. And then, we accept less than what truly serves us.
Recently, I wrote this question down, and began to list all of the ways that I love to feel loved. I wrote down how I love to feel it. How I really absorb the display of love. What makes me feel totally full in my heart of warmth and bliss.
Reminiscing on my past relationships, from my now single state, I noticed where I compromised. Don't get me wrong - relationships always have compromise - always.
There will be things that we are offered in relationship that are not exactly how we would imagine 'perfection' to be. But the perfection is in that place of unconditional acceptance.
That's where the growth is, the beauty.
This, instead, was looking at the core ways that really made me feel safe and alive in love. When I noticed the places my heart didn't feel full of this, I could feel that familiar pang of sadness, emptiness of lonliness. This was the compromise. A heart compromise. Not an every day personality compromise. A compromise we should never have to make. One that we don't NEED to make.
For example, one on my list was:
'Gentle, intimate, kind touch throughout the day. Holding hands just because. Small brushes of touch, consciously, on my body and skin that say 'I adore you.'
When I am with a partner who is less touchy in any situation (especially in everyday moments), who only reserve any touch for when we are alone, that does not offer me heart bliss. I feel a little 'forgotten' or less 'attractive' to my partner.
Now we could get into a conversation where we say 'well, that's not what he's really thinking, it's just because...' And of course, there can be a ton of reasons why this isn't happening. That doesn't discount the fact that my being loves to be loved in this way.
Recognising all of the other areas where I was not met in the expression of love (others were 'ravishment' or 'unwavering knowing that they want to be with me')... I felt sad. Sad for what I had given up. Sad for what I was missing out on. Sad that I did not value my heart enough to stand up for what she truly deserves. By the way - it's more than just that touch - the list was long, and deep, and revealed a core understanding of myself and what is really important to my heart.
The second part to this exercise, was to write down NEXT to all of these points, HOW I COULD LOVE ME LIKE THAT.
Yep. Time to reclaim myself. You see, it's not about having all of these 'needs' for relationship, where if they are not met, then I am not complete. Not at all.
When it comes to relationship, it is about being met in a deeper way. And offering my heart and body and energy to another from a place of feeling enhanced and fully vibrant with them. Not filling a void. Not filling my needs that I can fill myself.
So this was not a 'what I want in the perfect person' list.
This was a list about me. About becoming clear on what love means to me. About being transparent with myself in declaring all of the desires and yearnings of my heart, body and mind in filling up with love essence. I didn't hold back. I didn't apologize for my desires, my yearnings. I let her speak. She had been quiet for too long.
I wrote lots of different ways that I could start offering more of this energy to myself. Back to that 'tender touch' example, next to that I wrote:
'Touching my body as if my hands are kissing my skin. Washing my face slowly, with love. Holding my own hands when I sit. Being tender with me.'
SO on, so forth, with the rest of the list, and it gave me the most intense feeling of EXCITEMENT and JOY at already feeling into how I could offer myself, and receive, this love.
I have a trust that OF COURSE I can deliver that to me. I have given that to my partners, my friends, my loved ones. I know how to love, so deeply and fully and intimately, so now it is time to offer that all TO ME, in my own language.
It's time to RECAIM myself.
Claiming, was on that list. I want to feel CLAIMED by love. To feel the MOST.
This is where I am now. Full body, full heart CLAIMING OF MYSELF. And oooohhhhh my it feels delicious.
What about relationship? Well, now it's like this:
IF I were to be offered anything less than this claiming of my heart, less than these ways of expressing love, then I cannot accept it.
Again, compromises will always be made in being met with another - I'm not expecting everyone to be able to express love to me in every single way I wrote down (though I don't discount that either) - but in the deeper form of offering their full heart, and offering expressions of love that light me up and allow me to be my vibrant self (which now, I am more clear on how that is).
Though, IF there is an energy entering me that is less than I know I deserve. Less than the king I know is out there for me, then I cannot accept. Where in the past I would feel a void of all of this love (having not given it to me), I would have accepted less. I did.
Searched for the scraps and held onto them with latched fingers, in fear that I could never find anything more... This illuminates why I stayed for so long in relationships where my deeper core felt unsafe, and small.
I do not have to do that now. Because now, I am so full of this love, I would recognise what would be less. I would know if I were giving my heart to a love not ready for me. And I can't.
Only when I am met, by a pure presence and open heart, ready to love and claim me... By an energy matched to my own self devotion (or more!), then I would say yes. Then I would dive in.
And that feels so damn good.
It feels exciting. It gives me confidence. Peace. Safety. Grounding. A rich inner knowing.
That - my love - is exactly what you deserve, Shae.
And for you, dear reader - I invite you to do this exercise. You deserve this too.
'How do I love to be loved?'
'How can I offer myself that?'
For now, I am going to go pick up some beautiful fresh flowers and decorate my home in this beauty. (Yep, this was on my list).