“This is the meaning of true love, to give until it hurts.” Mother Teresa
The simplicity and wisdom of Mother Teresa’s words always inspires us to dig deeper, to think more, to love harder. Such is the case with this quote.
I believe what Mother Teresa meant was that when you truly love someone, you give wholeheartedly. It doesn’t mean you abandon yourself, but rather, you give all those things that are most precious and sacred to you—your time, your attention, your fears, your hopes, your heart.
Giving until it hurts means opening yourself up to vulnerability. It means that when things get hard in a relationship (as they most certainly will, at times) instead of walking away, it’s important that we keep giving love.
Just to be clear, I’m not advocating staying in a relationship that is toxic or abusive. What I am saying is that in a healthy relationship, when things are a mess, or hurtful, or difficult, we need to love harder.
When we started creating the customized designs for our apparel, I wanted them to communicate the kind of positive messaging that has sustained me and offered me direction throughout my life. “Love Harder” is one of those messages.
We’ve all been in the heart-pounding, breathless first stages of dating someone we really like. For a time, you’re both on first date behavior. You make a herculean effort to be ready on time (because you’re usually not) while your date makes fun, exciting (and often expensive) plans for your time together. At this stage, you’re both a bit giggly and giddy and not bringing up the fact that you’ve maxed out all your credit cards or that you have six cats at home and you’re thinking about adopting a seventh.
Because beneath the surface of all this glossy newness, there is a tangled web of feelings. Does she like me as much as I like her? Will he still want to date me when he sees me in the morning before I’ve had my coffee? Will she still be as infatuated when she learns I don’t like cats?
The insecurities, the self-doubt, the negative thoughts—these are the black lines that form the heart of this design. They are the fears—real or imagined—that once that other person discovers who we really are, they’ll stop liking us.
In the end, none of that is about love anyway.
It’s the single red line that weaves its way throughout that mess that’s important. That red line is love. It’s truth. It’s authenticity. It’s knowing that real love always wins. It’s the choice between acting on our fears or acting on our love.
It’s knowing that when the bubble bursts and things get real and maybe a little bit difficult, that genuine love is what comes through. It is the very essence of what it means to love harder.
For anyone who has loved and lost (and that’s pretty much all of us) we’ve learned that love is not for the faint of heart.
The solid heart at the core of this design is the love that grounds us. The edges remind us of the grittier aspects of love. They are the sharp shattered pieces and jaggedness that exists in our relationships. They are where hurt and pain, jealousy and aloofness, anger and resentment live.
At the center of the heart, “Love Harder” reminds us to dig deep and to fight for what we want. Even when things get rough, even when we are afraid, we need to remember to always love harder.
Have you got a story of a time when you had to “Love Harder”?