You have to learn to love to be loved.
When I began my quest to delve into myself, I never thought I’d find what I found. The question I asked is how do I learn to love? You grow up thinking you know what love is and that it must be easy because it is all around you in everything. I’ve realized the idea of love is just as powerful and addictive than any drug. It can be an addiction. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but it can be. I once asked myself what love felt like. To my surprise, I could not pinpoint the feeling or even come up with a concrete thought on what it even feels like. I even began to wonder if it was ever real all along or even existed. Maybe it was just a lie or illusion in which to make ourselves feel better. I sat in silence for a long time with this idea and began to understand that you have to learn to love to be loved.
I realized I’ve never loved or been loved. Not really. We attach all these ideas to what love is and should be that we forget to even consider that we have forgotten what it was a long time ago. I’m not saying I’m not a loving person but all I did in the past was love to the extent of my ability to do so. I had no foundation or understanding of what it really meant. I’ve never really loved myself so how did I love anyone else? I may have thought my self-esteem was intact and at one point I probably really did not struggle with it, but something happened and took it all away and I really had to start from scratch. I've learned this is okay as I have always been a service to others oriented person rather than a service to self type of person. But that is another story for another time….
Sometimes life will do that, it will shatter everything you ever were and replace it with everything you thought you’d never be just to see if you could find your way back. Back to who you truly were and are even if you lost it at 5 years old. I think we are born a certain way and people become more of who they are born to be. Sometimes we stray from the path and become something we are not. That’s when others think you have “changed,” but in reality if you were, say, a good person before you made a lot of mistakes, then you either grab on to the new you (the one who made the mistakes and keep doing them) or you realize who you truly are and go back to being the real you (the good person).
There is a lot of room to elaborate on the previous paragraph and you could replace your own words with those sentences so they make sense, but the point remains the same. You have a choice to either stay on the path that leads you astray and become more and more into the person that you are not or you backtrack and remember who you really are. Who you were meant to be in the first place.
I’ve learned that I labeled love as a travesty. Since it always seems to play out that way in my life and my love was never reciprocated. In my mind, I created a false assumption that love meant nothing but tragedy. That was a subconscious thought I didn’t even know I had, but it was there. Consciously, I thought I had it all under control and was just a victim to the mere game of love. I’ve learned that now I have a good balance and have always stayed open to love though, throughout all of my life, and always gave it a chance (if one tried hard enough, that is). But in the dark recesses of my mind, the belief that love was a travesty lingered. Intimacy was a very scary idea for me but that is another story that can be told another time.
One day I woke up and realized that to love is not a travesty at all and to keep putting myself out there. It’s okay to love and be loved. We all can only love to the best of our ability that each of us as individuals possess. So if you think your father or mother (or anyone) didn’t love you, you can best believe they did to the best of their ability. It just wasn’t what you wanted. Reciprocation is not the goal here.
When I had the realization that I had never really known the feeling of real love, I began to realize I have never really been loved and then I felt it. After contemplating for several moments on the answer to my question, I felt love engulf my soul and emotions. It took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes while my body tingled in waves. It makes you long for home and lets you know you are home. So this is love? I could have stayed in that moment forever because it was so revealing as it answered my question with a feeling so immense. Like I knew what it was but had forgotten. I would have never been able to have this insight a few years ago or even believe I didn’t know what love was.
I’ve learned I would have never had that feeling of love if I didn’t love myself. If it didn’t stem from my internal emotional body. But it did and I am grateful for that. I was given the chance to feel just how far I have come and that anything is possible. I’ve learned it’s okay to feel. I’m not sure if what I was feeling was a new dose of love or all the pent-up love I had collected throughout the years. A huge part of me believes it was all the love I have given out coming back to me. Either way, I was glad to have experienced it and realize just exactly what it feels like. I got the impression that we are here on this earth to feel. That is the essence of being alive! Everything you feel in another person comes from you because it exists in you too.
And love doesn’t come from another person, it comes from you. You must learn to love to be loved.