Love is a noun personified in the divine nature of our Creator and also a verb which must be experienced in order to be fully grasped and understood. In the beginning the Creator made them male and female so as to both express His love to the individual and to form a perfect union in which love could be modeled and expressed to mankind.
Love compels us to give of ourselves freely and wholeheartedly. Love at its best is experienced when you are both giving of yourself and simultaneously being the recipient of another's love and affection. The giving and receiving element of love is mentally incomprehensible, inwardly intangible and undoubtedly incomparable to all other life experiences.
To learn of love and from love one needs to both experience it and understand the various levels of love. The Greek language provides us three words for love: phileo, eros and agape. Each have their own place and significance.
Phileo is representative of a brotherly kind of love in which there is mutual benefit, exchange and partnership. The old adage "You scratch my back and I will scratch yours." could be one example. Such a love is most often based upon need and mutual advantage.
Eros is romantic love, which apart from the internal imagery and emotions is primarily experienced and expressed through the senses. When one thinks of romance that which stimulates the senses immediately comes to mind - elegant evening attire, red roses, fine wine, gourmet dining, intimate conversation, enrapturing perfume, enchanting music, holding hands and tender kisses are all sensory stimulants adding to the accumulative effect of romantic love.
Agape is the highest and deepest form of love, as it is freely given unconditionally with no prerequisites before it is expressed. Agape love is the God kind of love that gives and expects nothing in return. Agape keeps no record of wrongs, requires no reciprocation and bestows itself whether or not one is worthy of receiving it. Such a love is truly out of this world and incomprehensible to modern men.
I have had the privilege to experience love on all three levels. I can honestly say however that it is the agape form of love that I find to be most amazing.
When I was a child I often was a selfish brat. Nevertheless my parents graciously continued to love me while enduring such behavior. Of course at the time, being immersed in the moment and fixated on my immediate wants, I was clueless as to my attitude and behavior. Thankfully my parents patiently continued showing me unconditional love until the time I came of age and to the place of personal awareness.
During my adult life I have also had the good fortune of being the recipient of unmerited love, favor and prayers from ministers around the world. Such displays of unconditional love and personal sacrifice have truly had a deep impact upon my own life.
Being one who experientially understands the agape God kind of love, I now know why the holy Bible declares: "God is love." Such an unconditional love that is out of this world truly embodies the heart of the Creator for us His creation. It is amazing that God above would love and lay down Himself for us below to experience heaven on earth.
Thus far in my love journey I have learned the following.
1.The first step to improve your self-esteem is to cultivate a healthy love for yourself. You cannot give what you do not first possess. We love others how we love ourselves. People who don't treat others well often mistreat themselves inwardly through their daily inner dialogue and self talk.
You must come to know and realize that you are valuable, special and a unique gift to humanity and the earth. Though all may not celebrate you, undoubtedly someone certainly will and for such you were created. Most importantly remember within the heart of your Creator who formed and fashioned you in His image you are a masterpiece and unique original. Therefore do not die a copy trying to fit in and be like everybody else. Be yourself and celebrate your authenticity. As you begin celebrating who you are, your identity shall be firmly established after which your destiny shall unfold. You are the way you are because of why you are!
When you get a glimpse and begin to grasp the love the Creator has for you His creation, your self-image, personal esteem and self-awareness will change and improve.
Upon being established in your personhood and identity (not based on what you do, but rather who you are in the heart of your Creator) you will more easily discover and locate your intended destiny. Ultimately identity is destiny. So it is paramount that you be established in your identity before prematurely launching out to secure your destiny.
2.By drawing near to your Creator, the Source of all life, you in turn will experience new love and new life.
As you do you will experience an unconditional love you have never known, a limitless love the will expand the perimeters of your heart and soul causing you to joyfully overflow!
Connecting with your Creator can occur when you observe and enjoy nature, meditate upon life in general, do some personal soul searching concerning your own level of self-awareness and areas in your life in which you seek personal improvement, and pouring your heart out unashamedly to the One who already knows you inside and out.
Take some "me time" to examine your heart, ponder the path you wish to take and strategically come into alignment with your inner desires. Like a flower that blooms in season, do not disregard the various seasons of the soul. Allow yourself a winter season for introspection, personal evaluation, contemplation and transformation.
Do not expect people to fully understand you because they are not you. Go to your Creator for inner restoration of the soul that you may arise whole. Pour your heart out to He who sits in heaven and is a very present help in times of trouble. As you do you will come victoriously come through what you are going through and manifest a new you!
3. Sharing your love and faith with others further magnifies and intensifies the experience for you!
Locating people of like precious faith can be done by attending a church, synagogue or temple with similarly spiritual minded people. Associations and organizations also often provide a forum for people with common spiritual and ideological beliefs to interact and celebrate one another.
4. Acting on your feelings of love, inner impressions and motivations also further increases the amount of love you give and receive daily.
Faith and love should be both a fact and an act. Love not merely in tongue but also in deed and in truth. Serving others is what love is all about. Service is love in work clothes. Begin preferring others over yourself and serve them from the heart. As you do, such displays of love and affection will assuredly come back to you.
5. Be vulnerable and boldly express your love!
Don't hide your feelings to fit in. Break out of the emotional straight jacket and rut that seeks to enslave your soul. Live with passion and feeling! So what if people misunderstand or don't understand you. That is their problem. You however need to be real, live an authentic life and express your feelings to others. Allow yourself to be vulnerable before people. Take off the mask and stop trying to fit in.
The path to success might not be clear but the sure path to failure is trying to please everybody. Be yourself. Live authentically and express yourself freely. Love without regrets. If you get your heart broken, you can get a breakthrough! Bold love is better than unexpressed love that merely torments you within. Let the walls come down and let your love go forth and abound!
6. Forget the past and forge ahead wholeheartedly into your future.
Your past is behind you and you can do nothing about it. Fail forward! Learn from the past. Acknowledge your contributory negligence and mistakes, but move on! Don't sabotage your present and future by fixating on the past. Stop looking for closure concerning unresolved matters and instead simply let them be. Make a decision for your present and live victoriously. By rising above your past and realizing that your future happily awaits you, a new spirit of love and faith can come forth in you!
7. Be childlike, playful and embrace new challenges.
Children are playful and fun loving. So too should we be! Just because you are professional does not mean that you cannot be passionate and playful. Replace anxiety with creativity. Get back in the sand box of life and start playing around with new ideas, and concepts. Challenge the status quo! Challenge yourself! Break out of your rut by doing new things, learning new sports, participating in new activities, taking up new hobbies, engaging an entirely new social circle. Let newness flood your life and awake your love for self and surprises. As you do you will attract new life and love to you!
Learn of and from love. Learn of the Creator who lovingly gave Himself both to and for us so we can daily experience heaven on earth. Learn from love as you endeavor to give your love away to others and be the recipient of their love to you. Giving and receiving love is the most rewarding human experience. The agape love from above truly is better than life itself. Life without love is empty and meaningless. Life motivated by love is purposeful and glorious!
Paul Davis is author of Breakthrough for a Broken Heart a book telling us how to "Overcome disappointments and blossom into your dreams!" He is a fitness trainer, minister, life coach (relational & professional), dating expert, popular worldwide keynote speaker, creative consultant, humor being, adventurer, explorer, mediator, liberator and dream-maker.
Paul's compassion for people & passion to travel has taken him to over 50 countries of the world where he has had a tremendous impact. Paul has also brought revival to many in war-torn, impoverished and tsunami stricken regions of the earth. His nonprofit organization Dream-Maker Ministries is building dreams and breaking limitations.