Two weeks ago, my girlfriend sent me the footnotes for Jay Z’s song 4:44, and all that read in her text bubble was “DEEP.” She, like me, is not easily impressed by just anything so I knew I needed to listen. It was, in fact, DEEP!
I was blown away by the candid conversations that were taking place between black men about love and relationships. Specifically, the plight and patterns of relationships and marriages within our community. The woven narrative was the lack of positive examples of healthy relationships early on.
“What I thought was when I met my dad, oh I’m free to love now. But it’s like yeah, well how are you gonna do it? You wanna do it, yeah! But HOW are you gonna do it? You’ve never done this before.” -Jay Z
This was a powerful line to me because I found myself at the same confusing cross-road when I finally decided to surrender all of my crap and heal. All I’d known was dysfunction. I was only familiar with a perverted version of love that had either hurt me or I’d sought to use to manipulate my own agenda.
Would I magically just know how to love, be loved, and be in healthy relationships now that I was ready?
NOPE. That wasn’t at all how that worked. I mentioned in a previous post (note: I’m starting not to be able to keep up with my own posts- Good problem or nah?), I literally prayed for God to show me how to give and receive love. I had not a clue what this scenario was supposed to look and feel like.
“In order for this to work, we gotta really just…this can’t be fake. Not one ounce. I’m not saying it wasn’t uncomfortable because obviously it was but because we’ve been doing it for so long, it was less uncomfortable. ” -Jay Z
Here are 3 things I needed to embrace in order to begin loving freely:
- Love is Honesty – The first thing I learned was that I had to be honest. PERIOD. With myself and with any and everyone I was in relationship with (family, friends, romantic, and otherwise). True and lasting love will never exist amidst lies.
- Love Is Uncomfortable – Lean into the discomfort. Get rid of any delusions that love comes packaged neatly with a nice bow wrapped around it. Be prepared to roll your sleeves up and get dirty because love is messy.
- Love Is An Endless Conversation – Assume nothing. Harbor nothing. Have the conversations and plenty of them. Approach these conversations logically, not emotionally. Expect to walk away with something you may need to address within yourself even if you were the one who had the initial issue. Humility and grace are major components here.