Truth in Love

Love opens our eyes to the truths within ourselves and in the world around us. Every relationship and expression of love is unique and dynamic, but there are a few really special gifts we can all receive through true, deep, honest love. In my own experience in dating, marriage, and now starting a family, I’ve come to know love as a catalyst for some of my biggest personal breakthroughs. When you start living those lessons as a result of the love you have for another, and your partner is doing the same, you know you’ve found real love. Love has inspired me to be brave and honest in my internal dialogue, and to strive to see new perspectives through every stage of life. Most importantly, it has reminded me that through love, there is always room for expansion, growth, and change for the better.

You might see your partner as your other half, but finding love does not necessarily make you whole. Understanding your inner voice and finding self-awareness takes constant effort and commitment, no matter what your relationship status says. It takes a lot of courage to look deep inside yourself, own up to your flaws, and overcome them. Love has encouraged me to be brave in acknowledging my own shortcomings - and grow from them. When my husband and I first started dating, we were euphoric over the amazing new thing that had sparked between the two of us. As I settled into our relationship and felt the power in our connection, I started to believe I had life and love all figured out. It was smooth and perfect and we were having the time of our lives. But eventually, my flaws surfaced - character flaws I had never addressed in the past, because no relationship had ever pushed me to do so. No relationship had ever been full of so much real love. This relationship was different. It was as if the universe knew we were meant to be together, but that I hadn’t yet done the internal work to hold up my end of the bargain. And that NEEDED to happen before we made a lifelong commitment. Through a series of mistakes, I was broken open and forced to see myself and some of my worst habits - being manipulative, defensive, and selfish, to name a few. I had been using these tendencies to get my way for years, way before we even started dating, and I was finally forced to look that ugliness right in the face and own up to it. My inner voice gave me the courage to stop ignoring this truth and face it head on. We gave our love light and space and air through this tough time. I sat in the pain of my flaws and worked through them. We pulled through and we became better people for ourselves and for each other.

These bouts of personal struggles are constants in life - you’re never done experiencing them, even though they might be on a smaller scale, the older and wiser you become. Those flaws I mentioned earlier didn’t just disappear with a little self work - they resurface in disagreements and tough conversations all the time! No matter how deeply or madly you fall in love, you will always have to put in effort to grow beyond your flaws and put your love for your partner before your pride. Love will never make you perfect, but it can give you the courage to be vulnerable and put in that effort. The desire for true love can inspire you to let the floodgates of your truth open up and overcome you. Because the payoff of being completely open with yourself and your partner is true, raw, honest love, uninhibited by the fronts you’ve put up between you and your truth.

On the lighter side of love, one of the most beautiful things it can reveal to you is a deeper understanding of what’s really important in life. I am six months pregnant, and day after day since we got this news, my husband and I are given the gift of perspective. This is the expansive power of love. As life progresses and the layers of complexity build up, love calls you to step outside of yourself and learn that your decisions are no longer just about you. There is both pressure and freedom in this. I now have the overwhelming responsibility of not only bringing a human life into the world, but also raising it to be a productive member of society - not to mention a thoughtful, kind, disciplined, intelligent, fun-loving, confident, successful, happy person… yeah, we want it all for our kids, don’t we?? Simultaneously, I feel a huge sense of liberation in my decision-making, because this little life is depending on me. It’s no longer just my husband and I calling the shots and making choices for the sole benefit of ourselves and our relationship. We now have this new human to think about, which actually eases the burden of making tough decisions. We get to follow our instincts toward what is right for our family, knowing that any judgment, fear, or uncertainty will just roll off of our backs, thanks to our love for our new little person. We’ve gained more perspective on what’s important: loving each other, loving our child, and being together. It’s really that simple; everything else is just details. When I feel overwhelmed by this massive life change we’re about to go through, I just come back to the simplicity of that love and trust. We’re going to be okay, as long as we put love before all else.

No matter where you stand this Valentine’s Day - single, married, lonely, or fulfilled - remember that love, in any of its forms, is the key ingredient to inspiration, growth, and perspective. Love is love. It is everywhere, and it is everything, and it’s always there between you and whoever you wish to share it with. No one’s love story is perfect or untouched by strife and struggle, and love is like that by design. It’s meant to challenge us and test our limits, only to show us what we’re capable of on the other side: pure, honest, heart-swelling love. Over and over again.

Shannon Pike
COO & Executive Brand Curator
Moderna Muse