Let’s talk about love. Romantic love, love toward your family and friends, love toward your fellow man, no matter what type of love, it has the power to lift you up on one hand and unravel you on the other. When you love you have something to lose. When you love you are vulnerable. When you love you learn about your limitations. When you love you learn acceptance and patience. When you love you face your fears. When you love you confront your hard truths. When you love you let go of your need to be right. When you love you realize that others need you as much as you need them.
They say you can’t truly love someone unless you love yourself first. This statement is true but perhaps not the way you might think. The process of learning to love yourself and others is not an event, but a process that can occur over a lifetime. The timeframe is based on your readiness to let go. When you are ready to truly love yourself, you let go of your ego, you let go of your need to be right, you let go of your perfectionism. You accept yourself and those parts about you that are not wonderful. You show compassion for yourself when you have a bad day. You have patience with yourself as you learn a new skill and realize that some things take time. You see yourself more clearly, and see yourself as quite beautiful warts and all. You create healthy boundaries that honor yourself and your preferences. You know your strengths and your contribution to those around you.
If you are brave enough to come face to face with love and to open yourself up to your own vulnerability, you arrive without ego, without a need to be right, without a need for your loved one to be perfect, with acceptance, with compassion, with patience, with clarity, and with appreciation of all that they are. You arrive without judgment.
Whatever it is that keeps you from loving others or yourself, let it go. I know it’s easier said than done. I also know that it’s absolutely worth it. We build walls around ourselves and each brick is a fear, fear of being vulnerable, fear of loss, fear of betrayal, fear of pain, but until we can let go and break through these fears, we will never be able to face what love has to offer. Freedom. A brave life. A life that brings both heartache and joy. It is the willingness to be vulnerable, live life in spite of the inevitable pain, that is our greatest testament to life. To truly live we must love.
Author: Rebecca Cooley