It goes without saying, when you live on the opposite side of the city to where you work, you are going to spend a lot of time in traffic. I actually don’t mind the time spent, it gives me time to think. Time to mentally prepare for day ahead or mull over the day’s events before I get home, well… this is, until some douchebag driver decides they want my lane at the last minute pulling me out of my altered state of mind and back into reality. Don’t drivers know that an indicator is a standard feature on a vehicle and not an optional extra????
Yesterday I spent my ‘drive time’ thinking about how people demonstrate love. It’s our anniversary week. Yes, I did say week, seriously! Who celebrates for a day anymore…that’s so 1990! My love and I always strive to show each other how much we matter to one another which sounds really cheesy but the reality is, we do cheesy in an adorable way.
My thoughts are extended to my daughter ‘T’ and how she expresses her love for us and those around her and whilst there are similarities there are also many differences between how I demonstrate love and how she demonstrates love and I began to wonder what influences the differences. I think love is a lot like an iceberg really, one third above the surface for all to see and two thirds below the waterline that you can’t see but you know is the counterweight that keeps you up right.
The one third above the ocean’s waves is beautiful, out for all to see. It is shaped by the effects of unforgiving winds and driving rain and sculpted by the sun’s rays. The two thirds below brings balance to all that is exposed. It is the ballast that keeps the iceberg stable in times of trouble and even though it is rarely seen we know its presence is unfailing. It may take a few hits from time to time but eventually the damage heals and the balance returns.
Similarly we express our love the same way. The one third that is out on display for everyone to see is induced by the two thirds hidden deep within our being. Be it influenced by the gimmicky commercial holiday which manipulated us to boost the economy in celebration of a saint or our values which are deeply ingrain in us from birth, taught to us by our ‘village’, the others that cross our paths and shape our personalities.
It’s the two thirds that takes my interest. Sure, like anyone I love a beautiful bunch of flowers, an intimate dinner or receive a sparkly little somethin’ somethin’ that comes in a tiffany box. It’s great to receive those symbols of love but, it can become a little predictable and when it is given with an emotional black hole beneath it, it feels insincere and little ‘ho hum’. What’s the point of giving something if there is no emotional connection with the recipient? I’ve been there and to be honest, as the recipient, it left me feeling a bit ‘icky’ and I felt insincere receiving it.
What interests me more are actions of love and once you look for them, you can see them everywhere. Right about here I should make clear that I am not referring to sexual love. I’ m talking about a love that is based on shared values of respect, understanding, and a genuine interest in another’s thoughts and wellbeing. I’m talking about the steaming cup of coffee brought to you as you wake on a lazy weekend or the glass of water that is brought to you when you finish the mowing. The little things we do for each other without being asked to. The conversations you have where not a word is mentioned, the ones where you’re darling just knows to be silent and pass you a gin and tonic to ease the distress of a shitty day at work. It’s the exchange of a knowing glance and nod that says ‘that bad huh?’ It’s the weekends he is dying to sit on the couch and watch action movies but instead you have him hanging a sequence of artwork precisely in a row or painting a table that you picked up off marketplace during the week and he does so without a groan or a snipe but because he loves to see the joy that it brings to you.
How much of the core values we are raised with play out in our love actions and are they the same in a mother/daughter relationships, husband/wife relationships or a relationship between a brother and sister. Are the values, skills and body language underpinning the actions of love the same and do we actually consciously making the choice to evoke the values and skills for people we love or is it as involuntary as breathing? Equally I wonder if we are tuned in to each other, can we feel when someone stops loving us long before they find the words and courage to tell us?
I have always enjoyed watching people, not in a creepy, I want to wear your skin kinda way but more in a, what do you mean to each other kinda way. I like to observe the interactions between people and see if their verbal language is saying the same thing as their body language. It’s fascinating really and more often then not they are more predictable than you think.