"You never know how much your parents loved you until you have a child to love." "You don't know love until you have a child" "All the forces on this planet, will never beat that of a mother's love.” So where does this leave the ones without children? Are we missing out on some fundamental aspect of life? Are we truly not experiencing the full lengths of love if we don't procreate? No.. and yes.
There are a plethora of ways to receive and give love to others ––children. not. required. We exchange love with our parents, our spouse or partner, our friends, our pets, our neighbours and colleagues. The love I feel for my husband is definitely different than the love I feel for my sister, or the love I feel for my cat but neither is necessarily more or less important than the other. There isn't any sort of reserved level of love for parents that we, people without children, are missing out on. Love is free to all to receive and to give, all that's required is an open, loving heart. Rebekuh Beuge, a confidence coach and podcaster, spoke in one episode about how we need to 'diversify our love portfolio', and I am honestly living for that term. We need to be sure, children or no children, to not invest all of our love into one 'category'. If 100% of the love you give and receive is within your romantic relationship, you have lost everything if you ever were to break up. You also limit yourself to experiencing love in only one way, and miss out on the beauty of all that love can offer you. The love I have for my husband is deep, silly, intense, moving, and sexy to name a few, but the love I have for my sister is fun, protective, frustrating and rooted. Two very different loves, but both equally important to embrace fully. In any sort of investment, you want well diversified portfolio, and love is no different.
How do we fully embrace love in a multitude of ways? We can start by turning to Gary Chapman and the 5 Love Languages. Gary Chapman says we have 5 main ways we experience love - through physical touch, quality time, gift giving, words of affirmation and acts of service. Each person has a main love language, to find out yours click here to take the quiz. Even if we don't know their love language, we can still use these categorizations as a basic guide to connect with our tribes and spread the love around. Thinking about 'loving' our colleagues might seem like a weird concept, but doing something as simple as filling the coffee maker or asking "how can I help you today?" is a way to express your love for them. It will help grow and nurture your relationships and diversify your portfolio. See the infographic below for more great ways to spread the love! Disclaimer: Keep in mind not everyone receives love in the same way, and not everyone will appreciate all types of expressions of love. Please only use physical touch when the situation is appropriate and the person is comfortable with it. I am personally not a touchy person, so some of my friends ask before giving me a hug. It might seem a little silly, but consent is key my friends.
So here's where I challenge you. I challenge you to spread the love. Spread the love to your friends, family, neighbours, colleagues and spouse. Love should not be hoarded or muted, it should be given freely because really.. the world could always use a little more love. So love freely, love loudly, and love diversely.