As I have many times before, I am standing on a precipice. A great change awaits me. And the many hours, days, and months I have spent alone have allowed me to walk toward the edge. Rather than distracting myself with people, places, things, travel, I am forced to face the same uneasiness which sent me here.
Who am I?
Am I good enough?
How can I serve the world?
What is the meaning of life?
They say we teach what we most want to learn. I teach compassion, acceptance, and becoming your best self. I teach letting go of hurt and fear. And the lesson that strikes to the heart of me – and must be what I need to learn – is on giving love in order to receive it.
When I’ve felt unloved, depressed, alone, and isolated all of these years, I would seek for someone outside of myself to give me love. I am so worried about not being loved and cared for myself, that I do not actively seek to love and care for others. When my back is against the wall and I feel alone, rather than reach out to love and help others in the same plight, I fight to protect and save myself. Rather than giving love freely, I am scrambling to take what is mine. What I’m “owed.” And this mentality is the opposite of the law of the universe and the opposite of what Christ, Buddha, Muhammad, and every other great prophet or spiritual leader has taught.
The law of the universe – the law of love – is that by seeking to offer love to others, you find it within yourself. It’s this seemingly backwards concept that has been scratching at the back door of my mind for years.
“It’s ok, because if we all learned what we should learn, the first time round, we wouldn’t need love at all.” ~Karla in Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
How do others perceive me?
Do people even like me?
Do people experience me as a kind and accepting presence?
Do people want to be friends with me?
Am I, in my actions and words, sending out the message of who I truly am and how I truly want to be?
One of my biggest fears is that I don’t know how to love or to be loved. I never really observed familial love and, historically, I haven’t been successful at maintaining healthy relationships as friendships or romantic partnerships.
I want so badly to connect to people, but I’m never sure if I’m successful or not. I want so badly to be friendly, open, and kind, but I’m never sure if I’m capable of it. Now that I’ve been out in the world living without a plan and without boundaries for so long, I’m not sure I know what authentic ME looks like anymore. I am definitely not the same as when I left.
I want to focus on getting healthy now. Concentrate on continuing to do good work and nourishing myself with the beautiful aspects of life.
One of my biggest challenges is to accept that the love I have to offer is enough and that the right person will see that and crave it. It requires a deep transformation in which I open myself to accept the love others have to offer me as enough.
One of the loveliest lessons of my journey has been to observe how other families and couples interact and communicate. One of my greatest blessings has been to see couples being real – fighting, arguing, making up, being affectionate, being honest. I never experienced these things.
The idea I have in my mind of how a mother should love me will never come to be. But there is enough love in my friends, in my students, in my life – that I have more than enough to compensate. There are different kinds of love, but love is indeed abundant and plentiful if I am willing to accept it. Perhaps I fill up on friendly love while my romantic love is low. Perhaps I reward myself with physical and lustful love while I am waiting for companionship love. Perhaps I shower affection and praise on my cat while I am waiting for a partner and children.
All of these are real and legitimate love.
No love is wasted.
No love is insufficient.
So today I extend compassion to myself for all that I am and all that I have been. And I make a declaration to spread that compassion out into the world to all with whom I come in contact. And I remember that I am always me. I am always changing. Everyday I am different. But I am always me. And step-by-step I am becoming the best human being I can be in this life.