WARNING: We're going to get a little deep here.
Let's talk about love. I know, you're thinking we already did that...but not really. We just scratched the surface.
Consider "How you experience and express love is a result of how you've experienced and have been expressed love." Read it a couple of times. Let it sink in.
Take yourself out of the equation for a moment.
Let's consider Julia—a character I made up.
Julia was raised in a home that carried the motto "tough love." Her parents always wanted the best for her and so they continuously raised the bar. As a result, Julia excelled in school but always felt that in order to earn her parents love, she had to do well. She became very successful and has enjoyed many fruits of life that money can bring. Because of her success, she carried this motto into her child-raising and placed high demands on her children.
Now, let's consider Julio—another character I made up.
Julio is Julia's child. With the ever raising bar, Julio feels like he just can't keep up. He feels that he is never good enough for his mother and as a result, begins to rebel against the success mindset. Julio disregards "the norm" of climbing the achievement ladder, and instead chooses a life of wanderlust. His bank account is low but his experience of life is high. He eventually has children of his own and vows to show them overwhelming and unconditional love.
Similar childhood. Different result. Neither is right or wrong. We all just work with what we know.
But, what's important to note here is, you can choose. You do not have to be a default of your own experience.
If you want to be a full-hearted, loving person begin to step out and give compliments and show admiration to those you care for. If you want to hug people, start hugging even though it may feel uncomfortable and awkward. If you want more connection, make eye contact even though you squirm in your skin.
What does love mean to you? Name it. Define it. Whatever it is, it is completely accessible and available to you, but you must start stepping out of the norm. Nothing changes unless you do. And this is an emotion worth changing for :-)
Justina and The Ignite Team