Love. A word often spoken, yet rarely experienced in it’s truest form. Love. Perhaps, it’s easier to say, “I love you” than it is to actually love. I don’t know. However, I’ve been told, “I love you” more than I care to remember. In fact, in some instances, when I heard those words, my stomach would turn because I knew they weren’t true. Nonetheless, I returned the words in kind. As I have grown to know me, I am now aware that people love you with what they have. Simply put, their delivery of love is directly based on their interpretation of love. As a man, I have misinterpreted love many times. Tragically, when real love showed up, I found myself lost in translation. Love. I have two love languages. My love languages are words of affirmation and acts of service. Those are my love languages because for all of my developmental years, other than my mother, I was never affirmed. Additionally, I learned to recognize my own worth through helping others. When I was young, I was told that because my skin is mocha brown, I would never be beautiful. I was rarely complimented, and my accomplishments were so minuscule, they weren’t worth recognizing or mentioning. As I was told, I believed. As I believed, I manifested. Suddenly, and without warning, the rays of love began to shine on me for the first time. I met someone who told me that I was beautiful so many times, I began to develop the ability to hear those words and believe them. I met someone who not only encouraged my work in the community, but also worked with me. When the moon rose, we did more than make love; we shared it. I was so full. Here’s the thing, because this was my first experience with love, I didn’t know what to do with all of that love. I must admit that it was overwhelming at times. Needless to say, I left that love before love left me because I couldn’t bear the thought of love leaving before I could handle it. In both my ignorance and stupidity, I found myself seeking the replica of love in people that were incapable of giving me what I needed. In the end, my lying eyes sometimes convinced my longing soul that my fragile heart would be okay. It wasn’t okay. Each time I poured, they grew full, yet I became empty. As I recognize it now, that was the best thing that ever happened to me. You see, in my emptiness, I reflected on what my version of love actually is. Today, I have a PhD in me. Like school, my life and my understanding of love had some lessons that we more challenging than others. With that being said, I say to you that love is both a state of mind and a state of action. When I speak of actions, I’m not speaking of what others are doing for you. I’m speaking about what you’re doing for others. You see, when you really love someone, you want to see them win. You want to see them happy. You want to see them grow. Most importantly, you want to see them become the best version of themselves without fearing that the version of their better selves won’t include you. Why? Everything that you have done, are doing, and will do is done in the name of love. In my opinion, if it doesn’t feel like love, nine times out of ten, it probably isn’t. If you’re working hard to have love stay, and they are working overtime to help love leave, it isn’t love. When someone really loves you, you know it. You feel it. With that being said, I say this; discover what love means to you and accept nothing less than your understanding can handle. It’s not about perfection, it’s about truth. As I have learned what love is, I have also learned how to love. I love as me. Love as you. Patrick
As always, this week, please do something for someone other than yourself for no reason at all other than to make their lives better. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Always Choose Love.