That’s the answer I received from a classroom of teenage girls when I asked them what love meant to them.
I was astonished that anyone could associate love as pain.
I was even more puzzled by the fact that the entire group of young girls felt the same way.
I decided to ask the same question to a different set of girls … just to find out if this was a common theme among young people.
The same answer resonated among these girls as well.
To say I was taken back is an understatement.
Although this realization pained me, it opened my eyes to how many girls, young ladies, and even women perceive love.
It also made me ask another question.
“Why do so many believe love is pain?”
I soon learned, during the numerous conversations I started having around the topic, that the problem actually begins with each individual’s interpretation of what love is.
To the young girls and women, I was speaking with, love was pain.
Most had grown up in an environment where the role models in their lives … the same people who were supposed to love and protect them … had instead managed to cause them pain.
Therefore, love equaled pain.
The truth about what love is could not be further from this clouded understanding.
That’s when I started to share with them what God says love is.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
To those who have never heard about the love of God … and even those who may just need a reminder … this definition is a lot to grasp.
God’s word lays out the depth of His love and gives us an outline of what constitutes as love and what does not.
This also forced me to ask another question.
“If so many don’t understand what love really is, do they know how to be loved and how to love themselves?”
It also inspires me to ask you a question.
Right now … today … in this moment …
What definition would you give love?
Would you associate love with pain, as so many do?
Or … would you associate love with how God defines it to be?
Being honest with yourself is important.
How you allow others to treat you and how you treat yourself all begins with your personal understanding of love.
As you read you may be immediately connecting with the “pain is love” perception.
You may also have neglected to allow yourself to officially define love in your life.
Take a few minutes to read through this self-assessment to help you know where you stand when it comes to love.
These questions are based on God’s definition of love.
If answered with genuine reflection, you may have found you don’t show yourself the same kind of love that God desires for you to receive.
Yes … even from yourself.
Remember, your perspective of what love is will not only impact how you represent love to yourself, but also how you allow others to love or fail to love you.
If you are on the other side of these questions and have discovered your self-love isn’t in line with God’s definition of love, here is a daily reflection tool to help you develop a love for yourself that is God-centered.
Take five minutes each day to create a foundation of God-centered self-love by completing the following activity.
Friend, my heart aches for those who associate love with pain.
Especially when God loves us so completely and in ways that only grow us and make us stronger.
If you find yourself struggling with self-love and needing a little extra support to learn how to find God-centered love, I would love to connect with you.
Set your Discovery Call today - it is a great opportunity to show yourself some love!
I would also love to hear back about your daily self-love reflections.