2015 Living a Life of Love
One thing I’ve learned in this life is that everything comes down to love. Every action is either an act of love or a cry for love.
I think that the way we treat other people is a reflection of the amount of self-love we allow ourselves to experience. One of the verses in the Bible that I have pondered is the “golden rule”: do unto others, as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:30).
Some time ago I realized that I would never be able to treat others the right way if I was not treating myself with compassion and mercy as well.
This was a lesson that took me a long time to learn. I grew up fortunate enough to have a safe place to sleep, food to eat, clean water to drink, and all of the things that American society believes a person needs to be happy. Things such as bikes, cd players, games, clothes, jewelry, a car, a computer… I was even lucky enough to get to experience traveling from a young age. My mom wisely and generously saved away money for a college fund so that I wouldn’t have to pay for tuition in my undergrad years. I was therefore able to go to school full time and work several jobs simultaneously so that I could pay my bills, avoid the slavery of debt and do the really important things in life that I love to do, like travel the world!
There was just one hitch: I didn’t love myself.
Negative thoughts from traumatic childhood experiences constantly preyed upon my mind and caused me distress. I’ve earned four college degrees, owned two successful businesses, earned multiple certifications in my field and made professional presentations of my research. I had a slew of friends, was engaged, had a car, performed music and dance in local venues, continued to travel the world, had a nice savings account and no debt and was working towards earning a PhD. My life on paper seemed utterly perfect.
Very few people knew the struggle I lived with.
I was always working to achieve more and more, exhausting myself, putting excessive tasks on my plate until my health and relationships became depleted. Relentlessly pushing myself to achieve even more was partially motivated by a deep fear that I was not worthy of love- I felt I had to earn it. I believed I had to live up to certain expectations and live by various rules in order to be accepted... but by whom? I was afraid that if I failed to live up to those rules I would never be enough, or happy or a successful person.
That fear prevented me from enjoying what I had, and created chaos in my spirit and in my life.
Fear is the opposite of love. It is a dangerous tool that creates a prison of the mind in which we can get caught and locked up for many years. Fear that I was not enough, that I was not worthy of love, led me to build walls around my heart, barring me from enjoying healthy relationships. It also led me to create a contract with alcohol that allowed me to dissociate from myself when I drank in order to escape having to deal with the pain that had been building up over the years.
Fortunately, fear is an illusion that can be shattered if we realize that we already possess the courage to face it. I believe that fear is like a ghost- if we stand up to it and acknowledge then release it, it dissipates and no longer has the power to paralyze us or our hearts.
I’m very fortunate to have met some beautiful people in my life who encouraged me to love myself, who told me how beautiful and wonderful I was, even when I didn’t believe it. I began to see counselors who helped me to understand the root of my fear and I decided to do the work to face it and conquer it.
After the defeat of my fears, love came pouring back into my heart. It is a peaceful, gentle love that is growing stronger every day.
Loving myself has given value to my life. I know that I no longer need to look to external proof of my value, for it all comes from inside of me, from the divine spirit that is connected with God, the Source of all energy, life, and love. I know that it is no one else’s responsibility to make me happy- that I am the only person who has that power.
No relationship, accomplishment, degree, possession or amount of money could every give me a fraction of the validation I now love myself enough to give and accept.
This is a life changing kind of love. I believe that when we connect with ourselves on a spiritual and emotional level, we tap into the awesome power of God, intelligent design, and the entire universe. We become capable of experiencing true intimacy in relationships. We become co-creators of our lives. This gift also allows us to empathize with others on a deeper level.
I also know that our thoughts create our circumstances, therefore it is much better to think positive thoughts of self-love than negative, condescending self-talk (my friend Maxine calls this the “itty-bitty shitty committee”). We must find the courage to fire that committee and speak gentle words of love to ourselves. That means no criticism, no blaming, no doubt.
Instead, we must be patient with our learning process, encourage, lift up and celebrate our small victories. I believe that if we want beauty in our life in the form of healthy relationships, we must create a healthy relationship with ourselves first and be what we want to attract. Therefore I am respect, trust, intimacy, faithfulness, kindness and love.
Love. There is nothing greater than this.
As we begin a new year I am confident and hopeful in the power of love and grateful to live each moment more authentically as I walk on my path. Loving myself has given me the courage to let go of situations and people in my life that were draining my energy so that I can focus on continuing to heal and grow in my own time. This has been the greatest gift I have ever given myself. It’s never too late or too soon to give yourself that gift.
After all, time is but an illusion, but if we’re still buying into it then why not make 2015 the year of love?
Start today. Start now. Love is within you. Listen to your heart and let it guide you. Namaste.