Love? Look to Forrest Gump

Valentine’s Day– what a lot of misplaced heartache is going on in the world today due to this fictional holiday! Sure, it’s a holiday in the sense that it’s listed on the calendar, but come on- we’re supposed to take it seriously as a representation of love? If this day is causing you any sense of negativity in self, let me assure you that once your journey toward understanding what love is actually all about has begun you will one day awaken to how whacked the notion of Valentine’s Day is and you will never again see it in any kind of a light that makes you feel “lesser than”. So, if we’re going to make a fictional holiday representational of love, it’s a perfect time to use a fictional favorite who I believe “gets it”. Forrest Gump understands what love is. And he gets that it ain’t just about him.

The list of what I love about Forrest is plentiful, but what gets to me most is his attitude. His mindset is one that doesn’t appear capable of negativity, but instead one of “it is what it is”. Not bad, not good, but just is. When told to do something, he does it. If he sees someone in need or danger, he helps them. If he loves someone, he loves them. No, “what am I going to get out of this arrangement”, no conditions, no ifs-ands-or buts about any of it–it just is. Forrest loves Jenny from the first time he hears her voice on his maiden voyage riding the school bus. “Me and Jenny was like peas and carrots”, Forrest says, and we never doubt this. They grow up together and Jenny’s unadulterated support of Forrest and Forrest’s love for Jenny never wavers. Throughout the movie we witness a long chain of events and experiences in each of their lives as they eventually make their way back to one another. Though Jenny may have been the neurotypical of the two, the scars from her traumatic childhood challenge her in leading a life that one would consider truly happy or normal. They end up together in the end as I feel Forrest always believed they would. But what you realize about Forrest is that even if they wouldn’t have ended up together it would not have changed the way he loved Jenny. He loved her without expectation or regret, without possessiveness or intention. He just loved her because he loved her and that was that. When you think about it, isn’t that the way we should all love?

I aspire to love as selflessly as Forrest, but am humbled in my realization that I have just barely begun to scratch the surface when it comes to my love walk. It’s another of those one step forward, two steps back maneuvers that often leaves me feeling frustrated and confused. But I’m beginning to understand what Forrest clearly grasped all along, and that is his recognition that truly loving another involves allowing yourself the vulnerability (yep, I actually said that scary-ass word) required to simply let go. Let go of all of the worldly conditioning that has dictated to you what love is “supposed” to be and how it’s “supposed” to be shown to you. Let go of the world’s definitions and requirements and allow others to simply BE WHO THEY ARE. This often means tapping into love you’re aware is there without requiring the type of demonstrations of it that the world would have you believe is “your due”. It means moving forward in the faith of love by giving yourself what you need rather than expecting another to fill any gaps you feel within. I have found this to be particularly challenging, as it means putting my insecurities with self aside to step out of my mainly unconscious “but what about ME?” ego and truly be at peace with fully meeting the other where they’re at;  their time-frame, their vulnerability level, their boundaries of comfort, etc… It means giving them the space to grow and evolve as an individual with the understanding that there is no time limit or conditions. It is as I said before, how Forrest loved Jenny:

He loved her without expectation or regret, without possessiveness or intention. He just loved her because he loved her and that was that.

And that should be that, right? None of the shoulda-coulda-wouldas that the worldly version of “love” has become, but instead one of: I love you. I got nothing but mad luv for you dawg. However you are, wherever you are, your dark side, your bright side, whatever your issues, no matter how I just don’t “get” or agree with you sometimes, I just love you anyway. AS IS.

This love isn’t just about our “romantic” love interests- I’m speaking of everybody, for this is the eventual evolution on our love walk, the first step of which begins with learning to love yourself. For it is in this love of self that we are enabled with the faith required in understanding that we don’t have to “do” anything to pay our way. We are enough and we always have been. AS IS. But if you want to show yourself or others some Valentine love with cards, candy, or flowers, be my guest. Just as long as you know who you are without it.

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