In this holographic reality physical distance is an illusion. You can feel very close to someone who is far away and you can also feel very distant from someone who is standing right in front of you.
For so many years, I stomped my feet and sobbed as I cried out, “But I have so much love to give!” I felt alone – lonely – and carried very narrow thoughts about the persons on whom I would bestow my love. Namely, “the one true love” and equally strong (if not more), my future child(ren).
I was certain that my cup of love over-floweth. I was convinced that if only given half a chance those persons would be filled to the brim with my love. I tried it out here and there, to share my unending, undying love: I pushed to keep dying friendships alive and I shared all my depression from being alone with whomever would listen. At the same time, I kept people at bay that scared me (which meant anyone I didn’t know extremely well). None of these methods proved successful in securing those certain persons my abounding love.
I grew during that time, to be sure. I learned to laugh at myself instead of becoming toxically anxious every time I goofed. I learned a bit about the art of conversation, enabling me (finally!) to move past the simple “How are you”‘s. I learned to empathize. I even learned how to have a good time without putting myself in the midst of terribly uncomfortable situations. This last one was huge, because just as I never wanted to be around anyone I didn’t know extremely well, neither did I want to be in any place I hadn’t been two dozen times before!
Through my growth, I traveled abroad. I taught school. I worked in marketing. I gave up on the idea of the limitless love I had to offer and focused on not feeling so lonely. I played around online, seeking virtual friends. I met a few and I found them wanting. Specifically wanting sex, regardless of gender. Depression mounting, I nearly gave up. Gave up on… making friends? Finding that ‘soul mate’? Having a child?
I researched adoption. Considered – however briefly – foster parenting. The thought of starting off as a mom with a child (not a baby) was terrifying; what did I know of mothering? Despite the endless love with which I was equipped to give.
All that love I had welling up inside me was in reality a selfish kind of love. Who am I to be conditional with that love? And yet at the same time I was running on empty; how could I love when I could not feel love from others? When I could not love myself?
If you are like me, you have heard the “you have to love yourself first” line far, far too many times. So many times, in fact, that it no longer means anything. Where at first it was thought-provoking, or puzzling, I became deaf to it, tired of trying to figure out how to do such a thing.
I have come to learn, with the help of my Mama, my Aunt and Uncle, and many, many others that loving myself involves treasuring myself. That is, I should treat myself as a precious gem. Not just treat myself as I would treat others (or hope to treat the ones upon whom I would bestow my love!), but to carve out time to nourish my soul, body and mind. To be patient with myself; to infuse my mind with positive self-talk instead of bad-mouthing myself; to seek out time alone (not to be confused with loneliness) as well as with friends; to make the time to work on – or play around with – creative endeavors; to let loose of being productive ‘all’ the time and simply be.
And that lesson, my friends, leaves me no longer loving on empty.
How did you learn to stop trying to love on empty? Where there specific books? People? Places? Events? What happened when you cherished yourself?
For me, this life-long process has brought me to my fourth decade in this body, a 13-year long marriage, and a 4-year old boy. More than bringing me those certain someones to love, though, is that I discovered I AM one of those very important persons upon which I now bestow my love.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I first came across a wonderful article about Brene Brown (author of several books, including Daring Greatly) a couple of years ago now, I guess. Then I happened to be somewhere that had a television tuned to a show featuring her.
Just last month, I entered an online contest – a “Blogiverssary Bash” hosted by Jenn of http://www.busybeingblessed.net who covers everything from homeschooling to healthy living. In getting to know her a bit through our online exchanges since WINNING (yes I won!), I have found her to be a lovely woman.
Once we confirmed I was the actual winner, Jenn set me up with several e-books and ‘analog’ books, one of which was… wait for it… The one I had forgotten I wanted: Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown!
This week I received that book in the mail and oh boy was I excited! If you don’t know who Brene Brown is, you will be glad you do once you find out. All of her secondary education, up through her doctorate, consisted in social work. But it doesn’t stop there! She spent over a decade researching, and a lifetime experiencing – or not experiencing – vulnerability (notice I am not quoting, simply trying to paraphrase, so if I’m a little off, please feel free to correct me!).
She found that regardless of demographics or level of trauma, people who allow themselves to be vulnerable are the ones who recognize their worthiness of love.
My darling is awake now, so this post is to be continued…
Here’s to vulnerability! <clink>
Within each of us lies a glistening pearl. It is one’s Essence. The True Self. That part which shines forth when the best foot is put forward. One may not even recognize that the pearl has begun to shine, so intent is s/he on “just making it the best I can” through this life.
Then one day something profound, Continue reading