Letting Go with Guy Finley

Love has a way of cutting through the dross of our human nature. But when – misunderstanding the action of love – we try to coerce someone into being what we want, those efforts that we think are going to fix them actually “dull” us. We couldn’t possibly be further away from love than in the moment we are trying to change another human being.

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We don’t perfect love; but, if we’re willing – if we will choose to practice love in any of the twelve ways we are about to look at – then, in exchange, it will help to perfect the love between our partner and us. In exchange for this special kind of labor that love asks us to undertake, it gives us, at once, two immeasurable gifts in return:

First, comes the gift of being shown the self-limiting parts of us that are keeping us from realizing the unconditional love we wish to share with our partner.

For our willingness to embrace these healing revelations – without resisting their appearance – comes love’s second, and greatest gift, as follows: in that same light by which love shows us where we now love imperfectly, not only do we see the possibility of transcending that limited level of self, but we are also empowered – in that same moment – to give it up…if we so choose. And choose is the operative word here.

Higher love, the kind of unconditional patience and tenderness that heals old wounds, that helps us to be compassionate, kind, encouraging, and forbearing of our partner’s limitations, is a choice we must make not just every day, but in every moment with everyone we know. It’s a practice we must choose or we will lose its priceless gift.

Following are twelve important lessons that may seem to be quite different, but through all of them runs a single golden thread: Each one is a secret invitation to practice love. All of them suggest a completely new way to look at unwanted moments with your partner by laying down “your side” of that problem long enough to see not just the “other” side, but that no one side of any suffering between you tells the whole story.

Taken all together they point to the possibility that we are all on an endless journey, being perfectly guided by love to realize a perfect partnership…not just with the one we love, but with Love itself that wants only to perfect us.

1. The real problem we have with others is what we don’t yet see and understand about ourselves.

2. Our relationships help reveal what’s concealed in us that needs to be healed.

3. If our wish is to discover a new and higher kind of love – the only one that can empower us to transcend our differences with our partner –then we must begin to see our old excuses for finding fault with him or her as…faulty!

4. Seeing ourselves as we are allows us to see what our partner is looking at, at the same time!

5. It’s not by ignoring the differences between our partner and us that we get past how they “rub” us wrong; but rather by learning to use them – as does the jeweler his polishing wheel – to help perfect both of us, not only as lovers and friends, but also as individuals.

6. When it comes to being partners with the one we love…any time we fight, each of us is responsible for whatever may be happening to both of us.

7. Opposing forces are powerless to change their own patterns; they can only repeat themselves.

8. Despite any appearance to the contrary, it’s not our partner, nor is it we who strike the first blow in any dispute: It’s pain that picks the fight.

9. The pain in any moment of conflict is neither just our own, nor is it just our partner’s; it exists as it does because – one way or another – we’re (in it) together; which means…that pain is ours.

10. We are in each other’s life to help each other learn how to love one another…perfectly.

11. Our negative reactions have no awareness of themselves at all, which means that not only are they blind, but they are also incapable of loving anything.

12. If we will do our part, love will do the rest…but we must choose to put it to the test. With love, all things are possible.

It often feels as if our relationships – especially as they mature – give rise to more questions than they seemed to answer when we first became involved with our partner. The following four questions show us that we’re not alone in our concerns, as well as setting the stage for us to look into a single insight that holds the answer to all of them at the same time.

  1. Why is it that even though I have a loving partner, there are times when I still feel so empty, as if I’m alone?
  2. Things couldn’t have been better when we first started out, but that sparkle is starting to fizzle! Where did the love go.
  3. When we first got together we’d talk for hours on end, but now we hardly talk at all. It’s as if we have nothing to share anymore…beside our practical affairs. What’s happened to us?
  4. We’re trying to spice up our relationship with little to no success. I know we love each other, but the only time things seem to get “hot” is when we’re in a fight of some kind. How do we start over?

Even if we’re comfortable and content with our significant other, and things are going relatively well between us, the one answer to all four of these questions still applies. In fact, our ability to see the truth of it is what determines whether or not our love will have what it needs to flourish, or it withers on the vine. Please give the following insight all the attention it deserves:

The longing we have to love and be loved is not some fixed bond that, once made between consenting partners forever answers our need for love. For love to flourish it must be ceaselessly exchanged. Like the pristine waters of a high mountain stream, if love isn’t renewed it ceases to flow, stagnates, and eventually disappears.

Our own personal experience proves this last insight. It helps explain why we find ourselves looking into the eyes of those we love as we seek – in a wordless communication – a feeling of love that we both need, and want to share with our partner. So that when we do say, “I love you” – or give some unspoken affection to a child, or even a cherished pet that returns our gaze – what we’re really saying is, right here, right now, being with you completes the need I have to love and to feel loved. And as our love is renewed, so are we.

Love isn’t a feeling we either have or don’t have. Love is a choice we make minute by minute.

couple clasping hands, sunset