Wise Words – Love That Is Not Expressed Cannot Flow

“Love that is not expressed is like a check that is never cashed.  It doesn’t do any good for anyone.”

Raj Sisodia

I want to be a vehicle for giving and receiving love. What else is my spiritual practice for? On my best days, I give love freely. But there are also days when I am hesitant and leave that check uncashed. Why? Because giving love carries risk. There is a potential cost to my well-being.

Expressing love reveals that I care, which can make me feel vulnerable for several reasons. There is my fear of rejection. I may be afraid of looking foolish and simplistic for being so free with my love. Or I may fear someone will take advantage of me; they may interpret my openness as naiveté, a signal that my guard is down. Or I may worry my gift of love will do no good, that it will be wasted.

All of these fears come from the ego, that part of ourselves that has suffered the bumps and bruises of life and has learned the mechanisms that will protect us. Some of the things we fear may indeed come to pass. But there is also a cost to not expressing love. Something happens to us – the part that fears vulnerability, humiliation, impotence and scarcity grows a little bigger.    

The good that comes from loving happens when it circulates. It is easier to feel this circulation when we realize that love comes from a source outside ourselves. Love is not something we manufacture; we are the valve, not the engine, and our only choice is whether to let it move. Love wants to flow. When we hold it back, we feel a stuckness inside that slowly grinds the gears of our soul. 

What does it mean to express love? Let’s look at an example, say, encountering someone we are in conflict with over an unresolved issue. In your mind, compare what might happen if you met this person with a kind word versus a cold shoulder; if you listened deeply instead of pushing to make your point; if your internal stance was open and accepting instead of closed off and shut down. 

What might go wrong? The other person might feel vindicated, they might believe you are conceding the argument, they might view you as a sap who can be fooled again. For each of these, it is your ego self that is worried about these possibilities. But you know the true score. Being respectful, open and loving concedes nothing. All future actions are reserved and available to you. These fears tend to be overblown by the ego as a way to protect you.

What could go right? The person could soften and be more open to you. You could feel better that you were an agent of kindness instead of a collection of resentments. And more importantly, you would have added another piece in the ongoing training of your inner workings to default to expressing love. The valve would trend toward opening, making its release more likely in the future. 

Perhaps the biggest reason we withhold love is that most of us, in the deep residue of our wounds, do not feel worthy of love ourselves. We feel the need to hoard it. If we give love away, and the other person does not give back, we feel we have lost something. 

This is another trick of the ego, relentlessly working to keep us from harm. The ego does not realize that by circulating love, we actually feel more lovable. If we can open to the ocean of love around us, then the source of love can fill us and flow through us. The people we encounter can accept this flow or not, that is their choice.

Any love that spills to the ground does not diminish us; it is a rounding error in God’s bank account.  

Photo by Mike Lewis HeadSmart Media on Unsplash

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