For the past year, I have enjoyed the wonderful privilege of experiencing transformational love.
It has been said that love is a “many-splendored thing,” and this is true. It may touch us in a variety of compassionate, romantic, sensual, and companionable ways. All these manifestations are life-enriching, but, in its most potent form, love is deeply transformational.
The nature of the transformation will be different for each person who experiences it, uniquely shaped by the participants. I’ll share a few of the ways it has impacted my own life.
A sense of unwavering acceptance. Fear (especially fear of rejection) can play havoc in a relationship, by being a barrier to authenticity and intimacy. Transformational love provides the growing feeling of being securely accepted and safely held by our partner, enabling us to take the risk of dropping our masks and opening the door of our heart wider to deepened intimacy. With fear out of the way, we are free to focus on knowing each other deeply.
Healing for wounds which have lingered within us. Most of us have been wounded by parents, friends, or lovers. Dysfunctional and hurting people may have tried to lessen their own pain by inflicting it on us, and we now carry it as a slow poison within. When you are in the presence of transformational love, you will find that healing becomes possible, often happening as a wonderful side effect of the deepening relationship.
Our sense of self is re-calibrated. Self-image is in large part influenced by those closest to us. As children, we hungered for love from our parents and for acceptance from our friends. As adults, our sense of self is further shaped by romantic partners, friendships, career, and social standing in the community. Human beings are imperfect in a wide variety of ways, and through our own failings, and the careless handling of our heart by others, our self-image becomes tarnished and distorted. If you’ve found yourself in a relational mismatch in the past, that can be especially debilitating. Transformational love has the power to clean off the grime, polish things up, and provide you with a mirror in which you can see yourself in a more healthy way.
Preparation for something new to emerge. I love the image of a chrysalis – a safe place within which a radical transformation is happening, so that in time, something gloriously beautiful can be revealed. In nature, the chrysalis is part of the process by which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. In a similar manner, when powered by transformational love, a relationship becomes the protected space in which new things will unfold. These changes are not premeditated or forced. They will take place quite naturally, and you will become aware of them happening in each other.
I do not know how common transformational love is. All I know is that it is real and powerful. I found it (or perhaps it found me) in mid-life. Others may be so fortunate as to find it earlier. Part of my own journey into encountering this kind of love began with things falling apart, and my honest seeking of understanding and personal growth. As I began to live more authentically and in harmony with myself, I slowly gained a new perspective on life and was able to bring that authenticity into my interactions with others. When we are intentional about life, other intentional people recognize that. Through these changes, I pointed my life in the right direction, and now transformational love has taken hold of the steering wheel.
Eloquently written John.