A number of years ago I devised a theory that helped me think about my life, and about who I wanted to be for myself and others.
I called it the Conduit and Dam Theory of Love. It goes like this: Love is all around us. It can neither be created nor destroyed, but surrounds us like water surrounds a goldfish. It can flow through us and enrich us and then others. We can be conduits, allowing it to move from one person to another. We can be open, permitting passage to great volumes of love, or we can be closed down, in which case we function as dams, blocking or reducing the flow. What keeps us open is to have an open and easy relationship with ourselves, other people, and the world. Rid ourselves of complaints, judgments, opinions, for those are things that divide us and separate us from ourselves and from others.
We treat complaining like it’s our right. Expressing opinions can be a mild exercise, but it can also colour the world. We may think we are just describing situations and other people, but something more subtle occurs when we imbue our view with the status of fact.
When you think you have an opinion, consider that your opinion has you. Locking into a view can shut off other possible views. Treat our view like it’s scientific fact, and it turns into a lens that shapes and filters other information coming in.
When we indulge ourselves in complaining about another person, or a situation, we begin closing ourselves down. We may feel fine about reducing the amount of love flowing from us to them, having justified our view, but there lurks a darker side to this.
We have reduced the love pipeline not just for what we’re choosing to make wrong, be it a person or thing, but for all things. Others will now receive less love coming their way as a result. When we are angry with a spouse, our children will receive less love. There is collateral damage.
Imagine having 20, or 50, current complaints. Love will find no passage! Congratulations, you are now a dam!
Whether we are wide open conduits to love, or impregnable dams, our worlds change according to our position. People in those respective situations see different worlds. How they look at the world changes that world.
This has huge ramifications for our lives. If we purge ourselves of complaints, in effect, giving up our “right” to complain, the world will seem to alter. Love will show up in abundance. It will seem to be everywhere. People will start seeming great. We will inevitably feel better about ourselves.
The complaints we have about ourselves, the negative views, the cold judgments, all conspire to keep us from us. We stagnate on the love scale because we are immobilized by the weight of the evidence we have amassed against ourselves.
Want to get more love present in your life? Want to feel better about who you are? Want to begin by loving yourself at the top of the scale? Try this: Start noticing how you talk to yourself. See where you judge yourself, where you have made yourself wrong for past or current deeds. How often does the word “should” pop up in your self evaluation? Where is it difficult to be with how you are? What things do you wish you could change?
Try making a written list of things you say to yourself about you. Some things you may record as direct quotes (“That was a stupid thing to do!”) or as general observations (I’m hard on myself). Don’t try too hard to process the list. It is enough just to become aware for now of the nature of your inner monologue.
Choosing to be a conduit versus a dam will not just alter our view of the world. It will profoundly shift who we can be for the world.
And it will change forever who we are for ourselves.