I was reading a discussion in a forum recently and the topic was “Can you love too much?” There were a couple of comments from people who expressed how they had relationships where they did love too much and it broke their hearts. They had given so much of themselves and received very little. The result was they had closed up and tried to keep themselves from loving.
My first thought after reading was that perhaps the giving didn’t come from a place of true and unconditional love. I myself have been guilty of giving in order to get a place in good standing with another person. I specifically remember doing this with my mother-in-law when we first met. I wanted her to like me so that she would encourage Mark to marry me. For a lot of years I kept an inward scorecard where I’d tally up all the “super-wifey” things I did and if Mark ever complained I’d go through the list reminding him how lucky he was to have me. I love him and have always loved him but that was not the way that I expressed it. In those moments more than anything I was expressing my insecurity.
I think that “loving too much” is a brilliant way to live, but it must be unconditional love. I have set the intention to love this way. A perfect example of this kind of love is what you experience as a parent to a newborn. The baby cries in the middle of the night, you get out of bed and feed them. Months (or years) later when the child is sleeping through the night you barely remember the hours of sleep that you lost on their behalf. You would never expect your child to pay you back for this love, you give it without conditions.
To receive you must give. Too often we have a picture in our mind of the kind of love we’d like to experience. We think of the ways a person could change or the things they could do for us to prove their love. When they don’t meet our expectations we decide we have loved them too much. We have given so much of ourselves and have received nothing. In reality we have probably experienced the exact equivalent of what we’ve given through some other source. Maybe our best friend surprised us with a special spa day or our parents came for an unexpected birthday visit. But since the love didn’t come from the person whom our love was bestowed upon, we feel unloved, broken-hearted, and worthless.
The best way to experience true love is to give up your expectations of how it will come back to you. Look for the moments when you heart sings and embrace them. Love because it feels amazing to love. It really all does come from inside of you, the minute that you close up because someone has let you down is the minute you close off the flow of love that you can experience.
So yes, I believe you can and should love too much. If we all loved too much and without conditions the world would be a beautiful place.